Southend becomes first UK airport to trial a drone surveillance system

A successful trial of a ground-breaking drone surveillance system has taken place at London Southend Airport this week.

IPS IS combining its skills with the METIS Aerospace SKYPERION technology to develop a suitable solution for integration into airports. This system not only spots drones much sooner than previously possible and allows them to be tracked, but it also identifies exactly where the operator is located (offering the possibility of them being apprehended), something which has previously been almost impossible.

Rogue drone operations are becoming an increasing issue for UK airports with upwards of three to four sightings of ‘rogue’ drones per week in the London airspace area alone. Drones are readily available from High Street shops and can be flown within a few minutes of purchasing, and although they have many lawful uses they can also be easily adapted to carry a range of payloads, from cameras to explosives.

Due to the size and colour of most drones they are very difficult to spot, however if one is sighted near the critical part of an airport operation (such as the final approach to the runway) then the only option is to completely stop operations. This most notably happened at Gatwick in July 2017, which led to delays for thousands of passengers and considerable costs to the airport.

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Published 11th May 2018

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