2 major U.K. airports order military-grade anti-drone equipment
06 January, 2019, 17:15 | Author: Eric Barnett
"Creating synergies and sharing best practices being at the core of our values, the whole VINCI Airports network will benefit from Gatwick Airport's world-class management and operational excellence, which has allowed it to deliver strong and steady growth in a very constrained environment".
Two of Britain's largest global airports are planning to install military-grade anti-drone defense systems to avoid attacks like the one that grounded almost 1,000 flights at London's Gatwick Airport over the Christmas holidays.
An arrivals board in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport, after the airport reopened to flights following its forced closure because of drone activity, in Gatwick, Britain, Dec. 21, 2018.
"We have invested several million pounds (dollars, euros) in providing ourselves with the equipment and the technology that the armed forces deployed over Christmas", a Gatwick Airport spokesperson told AFP.
Roughly 1,000 flights were suspended and tens of thousands of passengers were affected while police searched for the drones' pilots.
The equipment, which can detect and jam communications between a drone and its operator, was deployed by the RAF on a roof at Gatwick last month.
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".
But after realising how easy it is for a drone to bring global airports to gridlock - Heathrow and Gatwick are now taking drastic action.
Media reports suggested the technology that was used to combat the drone disruption included the Israeli-designed Drone Dome system.
It is said to be able to intercept drones at a range of several kilometres.
As of Thursday, January 3, nobody has been charged with operating drones near Gatwick and the authorities appear to have no idea who was responsible, despite a £50,000 reward being offered for information leading to conviction.
Police have not yet found the drone and do not know its model, he said.
Last month two people from Crawley were arrested on suspicion of "criminal use of a drone" and held for 36 hours before being released without charge.
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