London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports have invested 5 millions of pounds in military-grade defense system in order to deal with the risk posed by drones, according to the Financial Times.
“While I can’t go into detail about exactly what we have, I can confirm this was an investment of several million pounds to ensure we are at an equivalent level to that provided by the Armed Forces”, a Gatwick spokeswoman said.
A vulnerability in the previously used military-grade defense system has caused the British Ministry of Defense to withdraw it from Gatwick airport. It is believed that the Drone Dome system developed by Israeli company Rafael was ordered by the British army a few months ago, but it’s unclear whether the technology was already being used at Gatwick airport. Drone Dome system is capable of detecting and jamming communications between a drone and its operator with a range of several miles, using the same technology employed in Syria to destroy ISIS Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). The British army had reportedly bought six Drone Domes for 15.8 million pounds in 2018.
None of the London airport drones incident have been recovered
Between the 19th and the 21st of December 2018, drone intrusions disrupted air traffic in Gatwick, Britain’s second largest airport for three days. Around 1000 flights were grounded and 140,000 passengers were affected. As reported by BGR, the British police still doesn’t know who was behind the attack, why they did it and whether or not they were inside the airport. They also failed to recover any drone involved in the incident.
The incidents at Gatwick airport have highlighted the vulnerability of airports to this new type of risk.