Drone detection technology to be trialled at YOW

Drone detection technology is to be trialled at Ottawa International Airport to see whether it can function compatibly in a civilian airport.

The Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority has partnered with NAV CANADA and QinetiQ Canada to trial the company’s Obsidian Counter UAS System at Ottawa International Airport (YOW).

“The trial with QinetiQ’s Obsidian Counter UAS System will provide all parties the opportunity to test a viable detection and mitigation system at an active airport,” said Mark Laroche, President and CEO of the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority, and member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force. 

The three organisations will be working in cooperation to facilitate the installation and employment of the Obsidian micro-Doppler radar unit with the goal of determining the feasibility of the system to function compatibly in a civilian airport environment.

Several objectives for the trial have been identified. These include:

  • Evaluating the accurate and timely detection/early warning of drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS)
  • Assessing the effective utilisation of the system to initiate an appropriate response to drone/RPAS detection between the Airport Authority and NAV CANADA
  • Assessing system compatibility in an international airport environment where other partner systems could cause interference
  • Demonstrating YOW’s commitment to promoting innovation and leadership in addressing the challenge of drone detection and mitigation.

This coincides with the release of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on UAS Mitigation at Airports (BRTF)’s report on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Mitigation at Airports. According to the findings of the BRTF Interim Report, published in July this year, “the threat of UAS intrusions introduces great risk and highlights the need for solutions that can safeguard airports from rogue UAS and this potentially disruptive technology.

“Recent UAS incidents at airports raise concerns of gaps in safety and security and underscore the need for airports to have clear policies to manage these incidents.”

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