Ministry of Defence removes anti-drone technology from Gatwick Airport

Andrew Cummings
January 6, 2019

But the Armed Forces were said to "stand ever-ready to assist should a request for support be received".

London's Gatwick and Heathrow airports have ordered military-grade anti-drone defenses worth "several million pounds" after drones caused 3 days of disruption at Gatwick last month, the airports confirmed late on Thursday.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled from December 20 following repeated drone sightings near the airport's single runway.

Product manager Asaf Lebovitz said the company, which emerged to target militant drone use in Syria, has shifted focus to commercial applications and has been approached by airports in North America and Europe. "As Gatwick's new industrial partner, Vinci Airports will support and encourage growth of traffic, operational efficiency and leverage its worldwide expertise in the development of commercial activities to further improve passenger satisfaction and experience", added Notebaert.

And a spokesman for Heathrow said they would also be investing millions in anti-drone technology, adding: "The safety of our passengers and colleagues remains our top priority".

It came after more than 1,000 flights were delayed and 140,000 passengers were affected by drone sightings at Gatwick airport between December 19 and December 21 a year ago. "Working closely with relevant authorities including the Met Police, we are constantly looking at the best technologies that help remove the threat of drones", he said.

British media said the military deployed technology similar to the Israeli-designed Drone Dome system, which can detect and disable a drone by jamming its communication frequencies.

These included 93 confirmed as coming from "credible people" including a pilot and airport staff.

Two drones found near the airport were ruled out of being involved.

A couple who were arrested and questioned for 36 hours in connection with the disruption were released without charge.

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