Debris radar aims to cut Heathrow delays

Safety measures surrounding the arrival of the US presidential jet Air Force One at London̵7;s Heathrow airport for the start of George Bush̵7;s UK visit to the UK included a novel radar system that continuously sweeps runways to check they are clear of debris.

QinetiQ̵7;s Tarsier system is being installed at the world̵7;s busiest international airport following a successful operational trial. Two radars scan the 3,658m runway area 24 hours a day, locating objects that could be drawn into engines or damage aircraft systems.

The contract includes an enhancement to Tarsier in the shape of high-specification day/night cameras that will allow the remote visual confirmation of detected debris.

̶0;Safety is our top priority,̶1; said Colin Wood, Heathrow̵7;s airside operations director. ̶0;Tarsier is a proven technological solution to the problem of FOD and will assist our operations team in carrying out regular visual runway inspections by acting as an additional pair of eyes.̶1;

The permanent installation of Tarsier at Heathrow is part of a drive by Heathrow operator BAA to maximise use of existing runways and drive down delays at a time when the airport is operating at 99 per cent of capacity.

Image: Runways will be monitored day and night

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