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Anti-drone ‘military capability’ removed from Gatwick Airport

Press Association logoPress Association 02/01/2019 By Tom Horton, Press Association
a large white building: Military counter-drone equipment deployed on a rooftop at Gatwick airport has been withdrawn (Gareth Fuller/PA) © Gareth Fuller Military counter-drone equipment deployed on a rooftop at Gatwick airport has been withdrawn (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The military hardware deployed to stop drones disrupting flights at Gatwick Airport has been withdrawn, the Ministry of Defence said.

Reported drone sightings at the airport caused mass disruption to passengers in the run-up to Christmas and the Army were brought in to help bring an end to the travel chaos.

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Around 1,000 flights were affected.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said on Wednesday: “The military capability has now been withdrawn from Gatwick.

Video: Police say they have discovered a damaged drone near to the perimeter of Gatwick (The Independent)

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“The Armed Forces stand ever-ready to assist should a request for support be received.”

Between December 19 and 21 the airport was repeatedly forced to close due to reported drone sightings.

a person sitting on a table: Passengers stranded at Gatwick Airport in the run-up to Christmas (PA) © Provided by The Press Association Passengers stranded at Gatwick Airport in the run-up to Christmas (PA)

The Israeli-developed Drone Dome system is believed to be among the technology used at the airport by the British Army.

The anti-drone equipment can detect and jam communications between a drone and its operator and was deployed on a roof at Gatwick.

Gallery: Drones shut down Gatwick Airport (USA Today)

The system, which is said to have a range of several miles, uses four radars to give 360-degree detection in order to identify and track targets.

Sussex Police Chief Constable Giles York said last week that police received 115 reports of sightings in the area, including 93 which have been confirmed as coming from “credible people” including a pilot and airport staff.

However some reports of drones in the area may have involved the police’s own craft, he said, but added that he is “absolutely certain” a drone was flying near the airport’s runways during the three-day period of disruption.

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