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In the wake of the recent well-publicised incident at London Gatwick airport, in which travel was disrupted significantly as a result of drones being spotted flying over the airport, there has been a flurry of activity investigating and evaluating counterdrone technologies. The US Federal Aviation Administration, for example, has been ordered to develop a strategy allowing for greater deployment of such technologies at airports – there are over 5,100 public airports in the US and over 14,000 private.

Many companies are now offering partial solutions – some even professing a ‘total solution’ capability. HGH Infrared Systems has extensive experience with its renowned family of SPYNEL thermal sensors and believes from this springs its ability to offer a unique set of solutions addressing the ever-evolving threat, thereby assuring true, real-time airport security.

The SPYNEL IR imaging camera provides an innovative solution which guarantees the ability to detect, track and classify any type of drone. Despite the constant evolution of drone technology, which has lead to a panoply of unmanned systems of varying size, profile and configurations, the SPYNEL thermal imaging technology makes it impossible for any of them to go unnoticed. Any object, hot or cold, will be detected by the 360° thermal sensor, day or night. Driven by the company’s CYCLOPE intrusion detection software, the panoramic thermal imaging system tracks an unlimited number of targets to ensure that no event is missed over a significant area at long distance. SPYNEL is thus fully adapted to multi-target airborne threats such as swarming UAVs.

SPYNEL is a versatile, multi-function sensor with a large field of view, enabling real-time surveillance of both airborne and terrestrial threats at the same time.

The CYCLOPE software provides advanced features to monitor and analyse the 360° high-resolution images captured by SPYNEL sensors. The ADS-B plugin enables aerial target identification and the ability to fuse aircraft ADS-B data with thermal tracks, in order to differentiate aircraft from drones. With forensic analysis offering a timeline, sequence storage and playback possibilities, it is also
possible to go back in time to analyse the behaviour of the threat since its first appearance on the CYCLOPE interface. Moreover, the latest CYCLOPE feature makes 3D passive detection by triangulation to operators using several SPYNEL sensors at the same time. The feature offers analysis of the distance and altitude of multiple targets, creating a kind of protective bubble around the airport.

[The] SPYNEL 360° panoramic thermal camera and its CYCLOPE software are frequently used against drones to ensure the security of national and international events, critical infrastructures, airports and more. The real-time visualisation and detection of multiple targets makes it a unique sensor for ultimate situational awareness. This solution is rapidly deployable and offers HD playback capabilities, very useful for events clarification,” commented the company’s Sales Director, Edouard Campana.

A key advantage of the SPYNEL system for airport applications lies in its being an entirely passive technology, meaning it will not be a source of electromagnetic disturbance in the airport area, unlike radars. Indeed, a concern often raised by aviation safety regulators is that counterdrone systems designed to jam radio communications could interfere with legitimate airport equipment.

As part of a complete airport surveillance system, SPYNEL, operating with complementary detection sensors, offers significant capability. Military facilities, correctional institutions, stadiums and other critical infrastructure installations have already chosen to integrate SPYNEL with other security and facility systems, such as radars, pan-tilt-zoom cameras and video management systems. SPYNEL can also be rapidly deployed as a standalone solution for temporary surveillance, to deal with urgent demand. With its 24/7 and panoramic area surveillance capabilities, the SPYNEL thermal camera provides early warning and an opportunity for rapid and accurate detection over large areas, to support proactive decision-making.

HGH Infrared Systems Offers SPYNEL/CYCLOPE Combination. (Image: HGH Infrared Systems)

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