Heathrow Airport, based in London, is the United Kingdom’s busiest airfield. After a recent spate of incidents involving drones, including an unsuccessful attempt by climate activists to ground flights, officials have decided to take action. A bespoke anti-drone system, developed by Aveillant Limited, a subsidiary of France’s Thales SA, has been deployed at Heathrow to detect and prevent unauthorized drone use.
‘The safety and security of our passengers and colleagues is our number one priority. That is 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. We’re delighted to have this unique system keeping our skies safe and helping passengers and cargo to get to their destinations on time,’ says Jonathan Coen, Director of Security for Heathrow Airport.
A similar system is also in place at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. Rogue drones can be detected at a distance of up to 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) away. The one installed at Heathrow can also pinpoint the exact location of offending remote pilots. From there, appropriate countermeasures can be deployed, though it’s not yet clear what those will be. Anyone caught flying in a Flight Restriction Zone, which extends out to 5 kilometers of any airport boundary, can face up to 5 years in prison if they have not secured permission ahead of time.
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