In 2018, Dedrone installed drone detection technology at four undisclosed airports across the United Kingdom in order to identify and analyze drone activity. The four airports looked to Dedrone technology to determine if they had any drone incursions at all, and if so, begin deploying a complete counter-drone solution to protect their operations.

Drone activity was monitored at four locations for a total of 148 days, and 285 drones were detected. This report outlines the background of the Dedrone UK Airport Study, the type of technology used, a breakdown of the data collected and the main findings.

Project Background:

Small drones are very difficult to spot by pilots, flight attendants, and air traffic control. While some drone organizations are developing electronic anti-collision technologies that are compatible with airline collision-avoidance systems, the innovations are not being adopted fast enough to resolve the ongoing issue of ensuring safe and clear airspace for passenger aircraft.

Dedrone created the UK Airport Counter-Drone Study to provide situational awareness to four international airports and determine the threat level to their operations from unauthorized drones. The Dedrone counter-drone platform combines hardware sensors and machine-learning software, providing early warning, classification of, and mitigation against all drone threats.

During a threat analysis, Dedrone deploys a drone detection sensor, which feeds data to DroneTracker, the software platform. DroneTracker auto-generates a report on what was detected.

Technology Background:

The core of Dedrone’s counter-drone system is DroneTracker, Dedrone’s software platform. The DroneTracker platform analyzes information from Dedrone’s RF hardware, which provides long-range detection and classifies drones. DroneTracker uses Dedrone’s “DroneDNA” database to recognize and classify drones. DroneTracker also integrates with 3rd-party sensors and triggers alerts and countermeasures.

Technologies used for UK airport counter-drone study:

  • Dedrone DroneTracker
  • Dedrone RF-100

Location Overview:

Four international airports located in the United Kingdom were selected for this study. Each airport sees approximately two million to 27 million passengers per year and also provides cargo services.

Data Analysis:

Drone activity was monitored at four locations for a total of 148 days.

  • Total drones detected: 285
  • Average number of drones detected per day: 1.93

Type of drone and manufacturer breakdown:

Drones detected by day of week

Drones detected by time of day

Key Learnings and Next Steps:

  1. The problem of unauthorized drones at airports is real, not anecdotal: Drones have appeared and disrupted UK airports in the past year, causing loss of revenue due to closed runways.
  2. Drone pilots fly a broad spectrum of technology from different drone manufacturers, and detection technology must be able to capture all drone activity: Drone detection systems must be able to detect all kinds of drones, regardless of the manufacturer. While DJI is the global market leader in drone technology by sales, they only represented 44% of the incursions at the airports studied.
  3. UK drone pilots come out to fly at airports around the same time and days, and airports can strategically prepare for increased incursions during these periods: The majority of the incursions occurred on weekend afternoons when drone hobbyists may be flying drones to capture footage for personal use.

Airports involved with the Dedrone study now have a baseline of data to work with their operation leadership and community liaisons to build awareness campaigns, and also dedicate resources for additional research. The next step in research is to identify additional ways to create situational awareness. Dedrone provides technology such as the RF-300, which maps the flight path of the drone, and DroneTracker can integrate into sensors such as cameras, radar, and microphones, to add additional layers of information about drone incursions. With this data, airports can create operating procedures, such as defining the circumstances to approach pilots, shut down runways, or defend themselves against a drone threat.


This data provides unrefuted evidence of the presence of drones at airports. Airport operators must consider how to approach drone safety measures and determine the additional risks that drones pose to their overall security program. Airports are multi-faceted security centers. They have officers monitoring the airfield, tarmac and fences, people on the ground following cargo and passenger baggage, and managers of warehouses that contain fleet maintenance programs. Thousands of safety and security elements exist on a single day in the life of an airport, and each component has a different security risk. Aviation regulators and airports are acutely aware of the dangers drones pose to their airspace. However, there is a gap of knowledge and understanding of the intention of drones within physical grounds of airports. All drones near airports are a threat, regardless of the pilot’s intention. Airport managers must be proactive in protecting their operations from incursions.Dedrone UK Airport Counter-Drone Study 2018

International aviation regulators have been slow to provide guidance to airports as to the types of counter-drone technology they are allowed to incorporate into their operations. This lag to adopt drone detection technology at airports will only become increasingly more dangerous as more incidents occur. As seen with the Gatwick Airport shut down, drones are going to cause damage and disrupt operations, leaving passengers frustrated and airlines blocked out of safe and clear airspace to fly.

See also: Dedrone Drone Incident Center

Source: Press Release

UAV DACH: Beitrag im Original auf, mit freundlicher Genehmigung von UAS Vision automatisch importiert, Der Beitrag gibt nicht unbedingt die Meinung oder Position des UAV DACH e.V. wieder. Das Original ist in englischer Sprache.