Chris Grayling being interviewed yesterday morning said: "There is no system for detecting drones that is licensed for use at airports". By the afternoon a radar system specifically for tracking drones had been installed. I suspect that it is a military system that MoD probably wouldn't allow to be deployed commercially but it took me 30 seconds to find this commercial solution
. I don't know if it is licensed for use at airports but it is advertised for use at airports and BALPA have been warning the government about the threat from drones for at least 5 years and specifically about the type of activity occurring at Gatwick for 2 years. How long would it take to get a product licensed?
Grayling also said that the police couldn't try to shoot it down because of the risk of stray bullets hitting people. He said that where it had been tried thousands of rounds had been fired without success. Is he certifiable? Nobody is suggesting using an MP5 to shoot them down. It took me another 30 seconds to find this device
and this one
. Both use high power highly directional radio transmitters operating on the drone's control frequencies to disrupt the drone pilot's control signal. Either the drone lands where it is hovering or better still returns to its launch site.
Other systems both for tracking and for bringing down are available. It should be possible to integrate a radar tracking system with camera capability and a shoot down device into an automatic or semi-automatic system. I am pretty sure that QinetiQ would have all the technical skills to do this and, thinking of the vulnerability of UK bases in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, may have already done so. Apart from airports it could be deployed at other vulnerable sites, e.g. stopping drugs being delivered to prisons or explosives dropped on Westminster. Perhaps scrap that last one?
Enjoy your holiday Clio.