The Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority has partnered with NAV Canada and QinetiQ Canada to trial drone detection technology at Ottawa International Airport (YOW).

Named Obsidian Counter UAS System, the technology is equipped to accurately recognise drone features and avoid classifying non-drone activity such as wildlife movement.

NAV Canada and QinetiQ will work with the airport authority to install and deploy the Obsidian micro-Doppler radar unit, determining the compatibility of the system in a civilian airport environment.

Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority president and CEO Mark Laroche said: “The trial with QinetiQ’s Obsidian Counter UAS System will provide all parties the opportunity to test a viable detection and mitigation system at an active airport.

“The trial dovetails perfectly with both the Airport Authority’s Drone Incident Protocol and the recommendations in the BRTF’s Interim and Final reports.”

The trial will evaluate the accurate and timely detection of drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS).

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It will assess the effectiveness of the system in initiating the right response to drone / RPAS detection between the airport authority and NAV Canada.

The trial will also assess the system compatibility in an international airport environment, which is prone to interference by other partner systems.

QinetiQ Canada MD Robert Aubé said: “Obsidian Counter UAS is specifically designed to meet the current and forecast threat of drone incursion upon critical national infrastructure, including daily operations in complex environments such as the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.”

NAV Canada is a non-profit corporation that owns and operates the country’s civil air navigation system.

Last month, two flights were diverted to nearby airports due to suspected drone activity in the surroundings of Dubai International Airport.

London’s Gatwick Airport closed for approximately 36 hours in December 2018 due to threats posed by illegal drones flying near its runway. It caused widespread disruption and led to the cancellation of approximately 1,000 flights.