London Southend Airport trials drone surveillance system

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A successful trial of a drone surveillance system has taken place at London Southend Airport in the UK.

IPS has partnered with aerospace and defense company Metis Aerospace’s Skyperion technology to develop a suitable solution for integration into airports.

This system spots drones sooner than has been previously possible and allows them to be tracked. It also identifies exactly where the operator is located, a benefit that has previously been almost impossible.

Damon Knight, head of London Southend Airport air traffic services, said, “We do not have any outstanding issues with ‘rogue’ drone operations at London Southend, but we have had some sightings near the airport which fortunately have not affected our operations.

“However, we recognize that there is a wider problem for the aviation industry and so as an airport we have been very involved in understanding how we can deal with the issue and helping to explore ways to coordinate drone activity in the existing aviation operational framework.

“After being introduced to IPS and Metis and witnessing a live demonstration of their drone surveillance system, we recognized the huge potential of the system for the whole aviation industry and so therefore invited both companies to undertake a trial in an operational environment here at London Southend.”

The purpose of the week-long trial was to demonstrate and test the ability of the IPS-Metis Skyperion solution to monitor, detect, track and record the activity of drones in the vicinity of the airport.

A series of ‘tame’ drones were deployed near the airport in order to test how the equipment worked in a ‘live’ situation. The equipment involves two airfield sensors which offer 360° coverage up to 4km (2.5 miles) in all weathers, 24-hours-a-day, feeding back real-time information to a control station located with the air traffic control team.

Tony Burnell, CEO at Metis Aerospace, commented, “We are very grateful to London Southend to allow IPS and Metis the opportunity to prove the Skyperion technology in their operational environment. We are looking forward to continuing the forward-thinking relationship with London Southend to develop Skyperion for integration into air traffic systems.”

Ansar Ali, chairman of IPS, added, “We are proud to be working in partnership with Tony Burnell and the team at Metis Aerospace, and we are grateful to Damon Knight at London Southend Airport for facilitating the proving trial at London Southend. We are delighted with the success of the trial and we look forward to working with users, regulators and other stakeholders in further developing the system, in order to provide enhanced safety, security and business continuity at airfields and other critical locations.”


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Kirstie joined the team in early 2017 and brings writing, communications and client experience with her. Now an assistant editor, she produces content for our magazines and websites. Away from the office, you will find her blogging on her lifestyle website or searching the internet for photos of sausage dogs.

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