Heathrow says it has deployed a “bespoke set of anti-drone systems” around its airfield.

The system was designed by UK-based firm Operational Solutions, and detects and tracks drones in surrounding airspace.­­ ­­­­

Operational Solutions said the “new and innovative” system can also locate the drone pilot and show their location, using technology from several manufacturers.

Heathrow said the fast and accurate detention of drones would keep passengers and staff safe, and minimise delays.

It has not disclosed how it will then take down the drone, or how much the system cost.

A spokesperson told Business Traveller the airport could not comment in detail on security processes or technology for safety reasons.

Last year the government extended the ‘no-fly zone’ around airports from 1km to 5km.

It followed widespread disruption at Gatwick Airport in December 2018 due to a drone sighting.

In September 2019, the BBC reported that police investigating the case still had no lines of enquiry.

An attempt by environmental activists to halt flights out of Heathrow by flying drones in the restricted area last year was unsuccessful, with the group saying the airport had used “signal jamming”.

Tim Johnson, Policy Director at the Civil Aviation Authority, has previously commented: “It is illegal to fly drones close to airports and anyone flouting the rules can face severe penalties including imprisonment.

“Anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant rules and regulations. The rules for flying drones are designed to keep all airspace users safe.

“The CAA’s Dronecode provides advice on how to fly your drone safely and follow the rules.”

Jonathan Coen, Heathrow’s director of security, said of the new system: “The safety and security of our passengers and colleagues is our number one priority.

“That is why we’re investing in this new cutting-edge technology which will enhance our capabilities in the detection and deterrence of drones in and around our airfield. We’re delighted to have this unique system keeping our skies safe and helping passengers and cargo to get to their destinations on time”.