BT launches system to counter and disrupt illegal drone use

BT has announced a new “counter-drone” programme that uses technology to detect, track and identify drones which breach airspace and site limits.

BT believes its system will help security staff respond faster to threats and, where lawful, can also extend to provide safe and effective countermeasures once a drone threat has been detected.

The system is powered by multi-sensor detection technology, an enterprise-grade network and a real-time alert system that provides an operating range of up to 5km and 360-degree detection coverage.

The system, which was developed in partnership with DroneShield, will continuously monitor the surroundings to provide early warnings while inbuilt tools will gather, process and report information back to the organisation in real-time

A range of countermeasures are also available, such as fixed signal blockers that can jam drones up to 1.5 kilometres away and portable disruptors that will help to deter and defeat drones.

During the Christmas period in 2018, Gatwick faced unprecedented disruption after drones were spotted being flown over its airspace. The resulting delays affected around 10,000 travellers.

Military technology was deployed for a short time to ensure that the problem did not reoccur, but this was subsequently removed in January.

The problem will only get worse as drones become cheaper and more readily available, issues involving civil aircraft alone rose 29 per cent last year, according to UK Airprox Board. 

Other airports, including Heathrow, have also suffered drone-related incidents in recent months, albeit not on the scale of Gatwick in 2018.

Simon Wingrove, director of strategy and incubation at BT said “Unwanted drone activity can have a dramatic effect on an organisation’s ability to function effectively and poses a real risk to safety. We believe that this partnership between BT and DroneShield will provide our customers with a best-in-class, integrated and secure drone detection solution.”

DroneShield CEO Oleg Vornik said: “The recent disruptions at Gatwick and Heathrow airports have underscored the importance of counter drone capabilities for the UK’s critical infrastructure, as well as the fact that a range of corporate and public sector operators including security and law enforcement agencies, prisons, venues and events, data centres, VIPs, and many others, are at risk from rogue drone use.”

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