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

According to a Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) Interim Report on UAS mitigation at airports, “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.” The report also highlighted that “recent UAS incidents at airports raise concerns of gaps in safety and underscore the need for airports to have clear policies to manage these incidents.”

QinetiQ’s Counter UAS System has been designed specifically for drone detection, and features enhanced scope and coverage¬† suitable for YOW’s vast perimeter, to recognise drone features, while avoiding misclassification of non-drone activity such as bird or wildlife movement.

Objectives of the trial include evaluating the accurate and timely detection/ early warning of drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAF); 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; and demonstrating YOW’s commitment to promoting innovation and leadership in addressing the challenge of drone detection and mitigation.

The Airport Authority will work in cooperation withe QinetiQ and NAV CANADA to install the Obsidian micro-Doppler radar unit with the aim of determining the feasibility of the system to function compatibly in a civilian airport environment.

“The trial 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. “The trial dovetails perfectly with both the Airport Authority’s Drone Incident Protocol and the recommendations in the BRTF’s Interim and Final reports,” he continued.



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