UK Ministry of Defence Withdraws Military Counter-Drone Tech From Gatwick

Gladys Abbott
January 6, 2019

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. "The Armed Forces stand ever-ready to assist should a request for support be received", the MoD added in a statement.

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 UK's two busiest airports are investing millions of pounds in anti-drone technology following pre-Christmas disruption that affected thousands of passengers.

Their operation remains top secret but it is thought they may have deployed the Israeli-made Drone Dome system, which blocks communications between drone and operator.

Police said there will be information relevant to this enquiry within the community and, with a £50,000 reward on offer for information from Gatwick Airport Limited, it is vital that people come forward so the force can bring to justice the person responsible for this criminal act. Noam Milstein, drone operations chief for Israel's Civil Aviation Authority, said such systems are "obviously becoming crucial to prevent drone incursions from those who don't care about the regulations in place".

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"As Gatwick's new industrial partner, VINCI Airports will support and encourage growth of traffic, operational efficiency and leverage its global expertise in the development of commercial activities to further improve passenger satisfaction and experience", said Nicolas Notebaert, President of VINCI Airports.

Police have not yet found the drone and do not know its model, he said.

But the culprits remain at large. The couple told Sky News they felt "completely violated" by the subsequent intrusion into their lives.

Sussex Police are still searching for the perpetrators of the travel chaos before Christmas.

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