Heathrow procures innovative drone surveillance technology

Heathrow Airport has expanded its counter drone capability with additional surveillance technology as part of the airport’s wider anti-drone capability provided by Operational Solutions Ltd. The new equipment deployed at the UK’s busiest airport includes holographic radar supplied by Aveillant, a Thales company, and anti-drone technology from Dutch manufacturer Robin Radar. Aveillant’s Gamekeeper radar is designed to detect, track and classify small Unmanned Air Systems (sUAS) in 3 dimensions to a range of 5km. With no moving parts, it continuously “floodlights” the entire field of view providing location and velocity of every object detected.

Robin Radar’s ELIVIRA X-band radar provides real-time position and track data in 2D over a 5km instrumented range. It tracks, alarms and records autonomous drone activity using micro-Doppler classification. The technology is used at civil and military airports around the world for bird-strike avoidance and provides drone detection capability at numerous critical infrastructure sites.

Heathrow has increased counter drone activities since the UK government introduced legislation to prohibit unauthorised drones from being flown within the Flight Restriction Zone (FRZ) which extends out to 5km of any airport boundary in March 2019. Pilots who break the law and fly without permission withing the zone can face a prison sentence of up to five years.

Director of Security at Heathrow Jonathan Coen said: “The safety and security of our passengers and colleagues is our number one priority. That’s why we’re investing in this new cutting-edge technology which will enhance our capabilities in the detection and deterrence of drones in and around our airfield.” Robin Radar added that fast and accurate detection of rogue drones protects Heathrow’s airspace and helps keep Heathrow’s passengers safe with minimal delays.

(Image: Heathrow Airport)

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