Gatwick and Heathrow airports order military-grade anti-drone equipment

Drones close Gatwick airport

An aircraft prepares to land at London Gatwick Airport after flights resumed following the closing of the airfield due to sightings of drones.

It came after more than 1,000 flights were delayed and 140,000 passengers were affected by drone sightings at Gatwick airport between December 19 and December 21 a year ago.

The "military capability" used to stop drones disrupting flights at Gatwick has been removed.

The airport purchases were made despite a comment last month, in which Security Minister Ben Wallace said Britain's security forces had detection systems that could be deployed throughout the country to combat the threat of drones. "The Armed Forces stand ever-ready to assist should a request for support be received", the MoD added in a statement.

The step to withdraw military equipment - thought to include the Israeli-developed Drone Dome system - is interesting, to say the least.

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

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However some reports of drones in the area may have involved the police's own craft, he admitted.

No one has been charged and no credible drone has yet been found.

Mr York told BBC's Radio 4 Today programme: "I am absolutely certain that there was a drone flying throughout the period that the airport was closed".

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry attended a ministerial meeting yesterday (January 3) along with the Chief Constable Giles York to provide an update on Sussex Police's response and ongoing criminal investigation.

"Just a few months ago we would not even have dreamed of being able to acquire an unlimited licence in the London airports system for less than 20 times core earnings", stressed Vinci Airports President Nicholas Notebaert, alluding to Brexit uncertainty as a factor in the deal price.

More than 140,000 passengers had their flights either cancelled or delayed during 36 hours of chaos at the airport.

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