RAF experts with jammers drafted in to Heathrow Airport after drone sparked delays for passengers
RAF experts armed with specialist kit have been drafted in to clear the skies around Heathrow of menace drones.
It comes as airports pledge to bulk up their defences against the machines after one was spotted on Tuesday – grounding flights for an hour.
The security measures come after a drone was seen in the airspace around Heathrow on TuesdayPA:Press Association
RAF insiders confirmed they have deployed a dual layer of protection for the nation’s busiest airport which includes a mobile suite of sensors and radar guaranteed to keep the airspace clear.
Second is jamming equipment which cuts their radio signal and causes them to plunge from the sky.
An RAF insider said: “RAF personnel have deployed with electro-optical tracking and radar tracking sensors to sweep the airspace.
“That confirms if there are any unidentified drones in the airspace.
RAF experts are armed with jamming equipment to clear the skiesPA:Press Association
“But there is also kit with teeth, jamming capabilities that can cut the signal to the drone.”
The RAF declined to identify the specific equipment for security reasons.
But it is thought they used the gear to clear the area and allow flights to resume on Tuesday.
Yesterday flights were taking off and landing as normal at the London airport and there was no obvious signs of the military presence.
Airports are teaming up against the flying machines in order to provide stronger security conditionsEPA
Airport insiders said the specialist equipment had been kept under wraps so drone idiots could not figure out how it works.
At Christmas another drone jamming system was spotted on the roof of Gatwick’s South Terminal following chaos which saw 140,000 people’s travel plans ruined.
Police have appealed for information to help them trace the idiot owner of the Heathrow drone, and said “the criminal investigation continues”.
Aviation minister Baroness Sugg and security minister Ben Wallace will meet today to discuss what they can do to stop further attacks.
Security minister Ben Wallace will meet aviation minister Baroness Sugg to discuss possible measures to prevent future attacksReuters
The Department for Transport said the Government is working with the aviation industry to find new technology to protect the UK’s airports.
A spokesman for the Airport Operators Association, a trade association representing UK airports, said: “In light of events at Gatwick and Heathrow, airports are working together, as well as with Government and the police, to see what lessons can be learnt.
“This includes looking at what technology is available and what deterrent action, such as increased police patrols, can be taken.”
The group is reviewing whether it wants the Government to introduce legislation which would make it mandatory for drones to be fitted with geo-fencing technology to stop them entering no-fly zones, such as airports.
Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy confirmed police officers were amongst the witnesses and a full criminal probe has been launchedPA:Press Association
The police and Government were slammed during the Gatwick incident by some passengers who felt they were too slow to ground the drones.
Commander Stuart Cundy, of the Metropolitan Police, said “significant resources” were now being ploughed in to monitoring the airspace over Heathrow.
He said: “Police officers were amongst those who saw the drone and a full criminal investigation has been launched. We are carrying out extensive searches around the Heathrow area to identify any people who may be responsible for the operation of the drone.
“We are deploying significant resources – both in terms of officers and equipment – to monitor the airspace around Heathrow and to quickly detect and disrupt any illegal drone activity; some of which are as a result of learning from the incidents at Gatwick.”
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A Heathrow spokeswoman said the airport would “continue to work closely with the Metropolitan Police on their ongoing investigations”.
On Tuesday, the Government announced a package of measures designed to give police extra powers to combat drones.
They include a wider exclusion zone, a test for drone operators and fixed penalty notices for owners who misuse them.
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