Singapore acquires advanced radar system able to track small drones up to 5km away

Singapore has acquired an advanced radar system which is able to detect and track even small consumer drones within a radius of 5 km.

The Gamekeeper radar, a counter-drone detection system, has been installed near the Singapore Flyer. Made by radar technology company Aveillant Ltd, the system was sold in February to ST Electronics (Satcom & Sensor Systems).

Singapore acquires advanced radar system able to track small drones up to 5km away
Singapore is the second installation in a major urban environment after Monaco. Photo courtesy:

The Gamekeeper system is designed to detect, track and classify targets the size of a small consumer drone, with a cross-section as small as 100 cm sq, in 3D and has a range of up to 5 km.

Singapore is the “second installation in a major urban environment”, after Monaco, according to Aveillant’s website. France’s Charles de Gaulle Airport is the third location to have installed the system.

The Gamekeeper continuously “floodlights” a volume of space, gathering 3D positions and motion information of every object detected unlike a traditional radar system that scans an area, according to a statement on Aveillant’s website.

A computer, through complex algorithms, will then distinguish targets of interest from the “background clutter” and classify them either as Unmanned Air Systems or other targets, such as birds.

Local drone enthusiasts have shared news of the radar system on social media. A user known as Teo SoonHaur shared a picture on July 17 from another drone user Mervyn Soon.

Drone shot featuring Marina Bay, complemented by the Flower Dome and Singapore Flyer in the background
Drone shot featuring Marina Bay. Photo courtesy: Singapore Tourism Board

Aveillant confirmed it had struck a deal in Singapore with ST Electronics in February this year. Permits are required to fly unmanned systems that weigh more than 7 kg. Users of lighter drones must seek approval to operate them for business purposes or within restricted zones.

For this year’s National Day Parade, a temporary restricted area has been established around the Marina Bay Floating Platform and its surrounding areas.

This is to “ensure the safety of low-level aircraft rehearsing for and participating in the aerial flypast for National Day Parade 2017”, parade organisers said.

Last year, the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix established a similar temporary restricted area to prevent unauthorised flying of unmanned aircraft like drones and other aerial activities. This was to allow low-level helicopter flights for aerial broadcast.

Anyone found to be carrying out unauthorised aerial activities in a temporary restricted area can be fined up to SGD20,000 in the first instance. In subsequent instances, they may be fined up to SGD40,000 and/or jailed for up to 15 months, according to advisories issued.