One Lincolnshire firm has developed a unique system for tracking unlawful drones...

Metis Aerospace is an aerospace and defence company based in Lincolnshire. Unique, agile and dynamic, it offers specialist products and support to the civil and military customer, including tailored R&D programmes, test and evaluation and independent technical advice across the aviation spectrum.

Set up by Directors Tony Burnell and Jem Waring, Metis Aerospace began trading in November 2013. Back then, the firm provided technical support to military organisations and their prime contractors and by 2014, had embarked on an R&D programme to develop HYPERION – its innovative signals intelligence system.

The success of HYPERION, which allows for highly accurate detection, geolocation and tracking of radio frequency (RF) signals of interest, has enabled the company to increase its workforce from six to ten over the last six months.

One member of the team joined the company initially as an intern, and secured the job with help from the University of Lincoln.

The university is also working closely with Metis Aerospace to secure some funding that will enable the firm to progress with its innovative technology.

“We are always looking for different avenues to take and more ways to innovate,” said Sara Kendall, Strategic Development Manager at Metis Aerospace.

“Most recently, we applied for some funding from Innovate UK to further develop our UAV detection system and have had support from the university to try to secure this.”

Unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) are most commonly known as drones and have grown in popularity in recent years. Readily available from high street shops, they can be set up and ready to fly within minutes after buying.

Although there are many lawful uses for drones, in the wrong hands they can be easily adapted to carry anything from cameras to explosive devices which can result in antisocial behaviour or – most seriously – threat to life.

Metis Aerospace’s SKYPERION technology combines radio frequency (RF) and electro-optical (EO) sensors to provide vital early detection, geolocation and tracking of the UAV controlling device.

This innovative combination is specifically designed to search for, detect, identify, locate and track unauthorised UAVs. It’s a cost effective solution that not only provides early warning of the existence of UAVs, but also facilitates the opportunity to cue other sensors and counter the UAV’s actions, leading to the collection of forensic data.

The firm can monitor and protect both fixed and temporary sites through its managed services which include a fixed site service – suitable for airports and nuclear power plants – and temporary site monitoring. The latter is designed specifically for short duration, small area, open air events such as festivals and sporting events.

Sara added: “The university was also a big help when it came to finding office space and, despite not having any shared space available, they did all they could. We’re now based on campus in the Charlotte Scott building, which has proven to be a great space for us.”