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May 14, 2018

London Southend Airport carries out drone surveillance test

The UK's London Southend Airport has conducted testing of a drone surveillance system that tracks drones and allows them to be located much sooner than previously possible.

The UK’s London Southend Airport has conducted testing of a drone surveillance system that tracks rogue drones and allows them to be located much sooner than previously possible.

IPS has teamed up with aerospace and defence company Metis Aerospace’s Skyperion technology to develop a solution for integrating drone surveillance into airports.

The new system also identifies the exact location of the operator of the drone, something which has previously been near-impossible.

“We recognise that there is a wider problem for the aviation industry and so as an airport, we have been very involved in understanding how we can deal with the issue.”

London Southend Airport Air Traffic Services head Damon Knight said: “We do not have any outstanding issues with ‘rogue’ drone operations at London Southend, but we have had some sightings near the airport which fortunately have not affected our operations.

“However, we recognise that there is a wider problem for the aviation industry and so as an airport, we have been very involved in understanding how we can deal with the issue and helping to explore ways to coordinate drone activity in the existing aviation operational framework.”

The week-long trial aimed showcased and checked the ability of the IPS-METIS Skyperion Solution, which was used to monitor, detect, track and record the activity of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), known as drones, in the vicinity of the airport.

During the trial period, a number of ‘tame’ drones were deployed adjacent the airport to test how the equipment worked in an ‘as live’ situation.

The equipment was fitted with two airfield sensors which provided 360° coverage up to 4km in all weathers, 24 hours a day, and feedback of real-time information to a control ‘station’ located with the Air Traffic Control team.

METIS Aerospace CEO Tony Burnell said: “We are very grateful to London Southend to allow IPS and METIS the opportunity to prove the Skyperion technology in their operational environment.”

London Southend Airport has three key airline partners, easyJet, Flybe and Air Malta, with approximately 34 domestic and European routes.

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