Bristol Airport awards three-year drone contract to Warwick tech company

Bristol Airport aerial shot

A Warwick-headquartered IT service and support company has agreed a three-year contract to install a Drone Threat Management system at Bristol Airport, marking the first UK deployment of the system.

Telent, in collaboration with technology partner Digital Global Systems (DGS), which developed the CLEARSKYTM Drone Threat Management system in response to the rising threat of unauthorised drone usage at critical infrastructure sites, including airports, follows a successful three-month pilot project with Bristol Airport Authority, local police and other security agencies.

Bristol Airport is one of the ten busiest airports in the UK.

The installation of this system will enable security staff and local police to detect, identify and monitor unauthorised drone activity in and around the airport. Most importantly, the CLEARSKYTM system detects the location of both the drone and drone operator and tracks them within the flight restriction zone outside of the airport. This information can be shown on a control room screen or via a mobile application, provided by our application development partner, Airpoint International. This eliminates the need for manpower-intensive searches over large areas and allows relevant authorities to quickly and efficiently respond to drone incidents.

IN 2018, hundreds of flights were cancelled at Gatwick Airport, following reports of drone sightings close to the runway. With 140,000 passengers and 1,000 flights affected, it was the biggest disruption at Gatwick since its closure following the 2010 volcano eruptions in Iceland.

No-one was ever prosecuted.

“Like all major airports, Bristol Airport is aware of the disruption that both unauthorised and malicious drone usage can cause,” said Javid Haq, Airport Security Operations Manager at Bristol Airport. “As an airport relied upon by thousands of daily domestic and international passengers, it is impossible to understate the importance of ensuring that we implement a high-performing and accurate drone threat system.

“We are confident that the CLEARSKYTM Drone Threat Management system can provide the necessary protection thanks to the accurate information the sensor network  provides and the integration of this system into our existing threat management protocols.”

The CLEARSKYTM system by DGS is a passive sensor network that provides drone detections within the flight restriction zone at Bristol Airport. Multiple sensors are networked to provide the airport with critical location information regarding the drone and its controller, as well as important characteristics that support classification of the drone.

“The Drone Threat Management system by DGS provides relevant airport authorities with accurate and detailed information on what kind of drone they are dealing with,” said Paul Hicks, Head of Wireless at telent. “It provides an unprecedented level of detail and allows security staff and police to identify what level of threat they are dealing with so that they are well informed before taking appropriate action.”