Economy

Britain's two major airports to invest millions in anti-drone equipment

Britain's two major airports to invest millions in anti-drone equipment”

"The armed forces stand ever-ready to assist should a request for support be received", said the Ministry of Defence.

Gatwick and Heathrow are to spend millions of pounds on anti-drone technology following the disruption at the Sussex airport before Christmas.

It is understood that a meeting between bosses of all United Kingdom airports and aviation minister Baroness Sugg will take place next week to establish what measures other hubs have taken since the Gatwick incident.

A spokesperson for Gatwick said the airport has spent "several million pounds" on the technology, but did not disclose details about the equipment.

Gatwick was brought to a virtual standstill between the 19th and 21st of December when several drones were spotted above the airfield.

The system can jam communications between a drone and its operator, while it also uses a laser beam in order to locate and destroy hostile drones.

Earlier this year it was reported that the MoD had ordered the Drone Dome system developed by Israeli company Rafael.

A spokesman for Heathrow said: "The safety of our passengers and colleagues remains our top priority".

It comes after chaos caused by drone sightings around Gatwick last month affected more than 1,000 flights and disturbed the travel plans of around 140,000 people. Noam Milstein, drone operations chief for Israel's Civil Aviation Authority, said such systems are "obviously becoming crucial to prevent drone incursions from those who don't care about the regulations in place". Gatwick has offered a £50,000 reward for any information leading to convictions.

Some reports of drones in the area may have involved the police's own craft, he said, but added that he was "absolutely certain" that a drone was flying near the airport's runways during the three-day disruption.

No one has been charged and no credible drone has yet been found. Two people - Paul Gait and Elaine Kirk - were arrested on December 23, but later released without charge.



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