March 22, 2019
Latest News
Science & Technology

British airports boost defenses against drones

 Passengers wait within Gatwick airport in Sussex, southeast, England, 20 December 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Passengers wait within Gatwick airport in Sussex, southeast, England, 20 December 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

London, Jan 5 (efe-epa).- British airports are boosting their counterdrone efforts after severe disruption during the holiday period, marking the first concrete sign that the three days of flight mayhem could be a catalyst for spending on systems to thwart the malicious use of unmanned aircraft, according to a report from Dow Jones Newswires supplied to EFE on Saturday.

London Gatwick, the UK's second largest airport after Heathrow, said it had recently spent several million pounds to buy new equipment to handle disruptive drones.

The system is on par with what the country's military uses, the airport said without identifying the supplier.

Counterdrone tools cover a range of technologies, including acoustic and radar sensors to spot the typically small aircraft.

It can range to sophisticated devices to bring down drones, such as jammers that disrupt the communications link between the aircraft and operator.

Most sales of counterdrone equipment, which can be expensive, have so far been to the military, according to industry officials.

Troops increasingly face the threat of attack from small drones on the battlefield.

Repeated drone sightings forced Gatwick to close its single runway multiple times from late Dec. 19 through Dec. 21, affecting around 140,000 passengers after 1,000 flights were canceled and many more were delayed.

The local police force is still searching for the perpetrators and said it had 93 credible witnesses.

Nobody has been charged for the mayhem and authorities have offered a 50,000 pound ($63,400) reward for information that leads to the arrest and convictions of those operating the drones.

The UK military deployed some of its counterdrone equipment to Gatwick to allow the airport to resume normal operations. Those systems were withdrawn this week.

Gatwick said the equipment it has acquired provides "similar level of reassurance" to that used by the armed forces.

London Heathrow, Europe's busiest hub, stepped up patrols around its facility in December to mitigate the risk of drone disruptions that impacted Gatwick at the time.

The airport Friday said it was working with authorities to address the risk from unmanned aircraft. "We are constantly looking at the best technologies that help remove the threat of drones," a spokeswoman said. She declined to say whether the airport had invested in counter-drone equipment.

Regulators in the US and Europe have struggled to find ways to foster a commercial drone industry that promises to grow into a multibillion-dollar annual business and protecting the public from reckless use of the devices.

A local city council in Britain this week has proposed curbing unregulated drone use.

The US Federal Aviation Administration last month announced plans for industry-government pilot projects to test airborne identification of drones.

The British government, in the wake of the Gatwick events, said it had made counterdrone equipment available to deploy throughout the country.

The government also has said that it may recommend tightening rules on drone use this year and call for enhanced policing powers and guidelines to test and use counterdrone equipment, the Dow Jones report added.

In the UK, it is illegal to fly a drone within 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) of an airport.

Violators could face a fine and up to five years in jail, though prosecutions for drone misuse are rare.

Pilots want that exclusion zone increased to 5 km.

By Robert Wall

News history
Bolivia allows planting of GM soy to make biodiesel

Cuatro CaƱadas, Bolivia, Mar 20 (efe-epa).- Soy producers in eastern Bolivia's Santa Cruz region welcome the government's decision to allow cultivation of...

UAE hosts 8th edition of international government communication forum

Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) Mar 20 (efe-epa).- The eighth edition of the international government communication forum kicked off Wednesday in the United...

Google fined 1.5bn euro by European Commision over advertising

Brussels, Mar 20 (efe-epa).- American technology giant Google was fined 1.49 billion euro ($1.7 billion) Wednesday by the European Commission for blocking...

Scientists in Antarctica studying carbon cycle, the key to climate change

Santiago, Mar 17 (efe-epa).- Chilean and Spanish scientists have set up a monitoring device on the Antarctic Peninsula with the aim of measuring the annual...

Spain had 300 concentration camps detaining 1 million after 1936-39 civil war

Madrid, Mar 16 (efe-epa).- Spain had up to one million people detained in around 300 concentration camps set up by the forces of late dictator Gen....

Russia's Soyuz MS-12 capsule lifts off for ISS from Kazakhstan

Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- Russia's Soyuz MS-12 space capsule carrying three astronauts lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan...

Chile to nominate island for World Heritage Site

Santiago, Mar 13 (efe-epa).- The Chilean government is intending to nominate the island of Madre de Dios before the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural...

Leonardo da Vinci science and technology exhibit opens in Rome

Rome, Mar 12 (efe-epa).- Leonardo da Vinci pondered and designed huge construction machines, fantastic contraptions whereby Man could conceivably fly and an...

Web @ 30 years old: founder call for fight against state-sponsored hacking

Geneva, Mar 12 (efe-epa).- The founder of the World Wide Web has called for a global fight against state-sponsored hacking and online hatred on Tuesday, the...

Soyuz spacecraft installed on Kazakh launch pad ahead of mission to ISS

Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan), Mar 12 (efe-epa).- A Soyuz spacecraft and its booster were on Tuesday transported to and set up on a launch pad in...

Moon to Mars Event

Miami, USA, Mar 11 (efe-epa).- The administrator of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, said Monday that the return to the moon is part of a "sustainable" project that...

Bolivian family to pitch Lake Titicaca clean-up plan in Silicon Valley

La Paz, Mar 11 (epa-efe).- A Bolivian family is preparing to present a project to experts in California's Silicon Valley that would use artificial...

Lab in Switzerland celebrates invention of the World Wide Web 30 years ago

Geneva, Mar 11 (epe-efe).- The 30th anniversary of the invention of the World Wide Web will be celebrated at the site of its creation on Tuesday.

Mexico to send 50 students to Robotics World Championship

Cancun, Mexico, Mar 10 (efe-epa).- Mexico is sending 50 students to the 2019 VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, in April.

Crew Dragon capsule splashes down in Atlantic as planned after ISS flight

Miami, Mar 8 (efe-epa).- The unmanned Crew Dragon SpaceX capsule, the aim of which is to demonstrate the firm's ability to send modules carrying astronauts...

Israel's first lunar module succeeds in complex navigational space maneuver

Jerusalem, Mar 7 (efe-epa).- Israel's lunar module successfully performed a complex navigational space maneuver on Thursday on its way to the Moon.

Film linking Da Vinci's designs with modern innovations shows in Italy

Rome, March, 7 (efe-epa).- A documentary film that juxtaposes Leonardo Da Vinci's sketches of inventions with modern day feats launched in Italy on...

EFE agency partners with Google in online exhibition on human inventiveness

Madrid, Mar 7 (efe-epa).- Spain's international news agency EFE has partnered with multinational technology company Google to launch one of the largest...

UK queen crosses new milestone as she sends her 1st message on Instagram

London, March, 7 (efe-epa).- The queen of the United Kingdom crossed a new milestone by posting her first message on the Instagram social media on Thursday...

Iranian hackers hit companies

Madrid, 7, March (efe-epa).- Cyberattacks linked to Iranian hackers have targeted thousands of people at more than 200 companies over the past two years,...

T Rex revives at American Museum of Natural History

New York, Mar 5 (efe-epa).- The fearful T Rex, undoubtedly the boss of the dinosaur family, was resuscitated Tuesday at the American Museum of Natural...

Scientists study shark habitats in Galapagos Islands

Quito, Mar 5 (efe-epa).- A study involving several institutions will soon begin monitoring newborn specimens of two shark species that breed in waters of...

Archaeologists use lasers to learn more about Mayan civilization

Guatemala City, Mar 5 (efe-epa).- How the Mayas used their water and agricultural resources, preserved the rain forest and built fortresses and watchtowers...

Who's afraid of AI?

Paris, Mar 5 (efe-epa).- Humanity's Industrial Revolution-era fear that machines will one day take over has taken on a new lease of life with the advent of...

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.