Gatwick, Heathrow airports order military-grade anti-drone equipment

Drones close Gatwick airport

Drones close Gatwick airport

Passengers wait at the North Terminal at London Gatwick Airport, south of London, on 20 December 2018 after all flights were grounded due to drones flying over the airfield.

The airport was closed repeatedly between 19 and 21 December after numerous drone sightings, grounding more than 1,000 flights and wreaking havoc for hundreds of thousands of passengers.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said on Wednesday: "The military capability has now been withdrawn from Gatwick". The company said there had been renewed interest in the product since the Gatwick incident.

One of the technologies deployed at Gatwick in December was the Israeli "Drone Dome" system, designed by Rafael and to provide "effective airspace defense against hostile drones" aiming to perform "aerial attacks, collect intelligence, and other intimidating activities".

A Gatwick spokesperson insisted the airport would be just as well protected against drones now that the military had left: "We have invested several million pounds to ensure that we are equipped to the level of security that was provided by the armed forces".

"The safety of our passengers and colleagues remains our top priority".

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The system has a range of several miles and uses four radars to give 360-degree detection to identify and track drones.

"Working closely with relevant authorities including the Met Police, we are constantly looking at the best technologies that help remove the threat of drones".

Particularly as Sussex Police are still hunting for those responsible and don't appear to be any closer to understanding what happened.

These included 93 confirmed as coming from "credible people" including a pilot and airport staff.

Under the policy, any person flying a drone or UAV in the council's parks or open spaces would be asked to stop immediately and leave the site, the BBC's Local Democracy Service reported.

Two drones found near the airport were ruled out of being involved.

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