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Shannon Airport

Future-proof, scalable perimeter surveillance

Shannon Airport, key hub for military and civilian aircraft and frequent target for protestors, needed a reliable intruder detection and tracking solution that would scale with the site and provide full situational awareness.

Receives 1.9 million passengers per year
Ireland's 3rd busiest airport
AdvanceGuard implemented in 2016 by Navtech

Future-proof, real-time airport perimeter security solution.

Shannon Airport, in County Clare, is the third busiest airport in the Republic of Ireland and an important destination and transit point for both passenger and military aircraft. As well as an airport and associated buildings, the site also contains engineering works and is therefore both busy and complex. A mixture of tall trees and farmland surrounds Shannon. Wildlife activity can trigger nuisance alarms in conventional surveillance systems

Shannon Airport has a particular need for perimeter security because its use by the US military has led to incursions and protests, and subsequent publicity. By 2016, airport managers had tried multiple approaches to perimeter surveillance, but all fell short of requirements.

Shannon Airport approached Navtech Radar with a view to securing the perimeter and ensuring constant, site-wide situational awareness. The airport needed a comprehensive, future-proof perimeter surveillance solution that would also provide real-time situational awareness. The solution also had to scale and grow with the airport’s needs and with advances in technology.

“The precision and scope of Navtech Radar’s AdvanceGuard system, with its ability to spot and track intruders with pinpoint accuracy, to reduce nuisance alarms from wildlife and to distinguish between friend and foe, has greatly improved the security of our perimeter and the situational awareness of our security operators. Our working relationship with Navtech, which dates from 2016, has been very productive, and we look forward to doing more great work with them in the years ahead.”

John Francis
Head of Security, Shannon Airport

Perimeter surveillance system expansion

Navtech Radar worked with management and engineers at Shannon Airport to design a long term perimeter surveillance system with room for growth. The system is based on Navtech’s innovative AdvanceGuard wide area surveillance solution.

Combining high-definition radar and intelligent, rules-based software, AdvanceGuard is ideal for complex, active sites where legitimate and illegitimate activity may occur together. AdvanceGuard works in all weather and light conditions – including fog, snow, bright sunlight and darkness – and in extreme temperatures. At Shannon, the original installation was set up to surveil the airport grounds and around 10m beyond the perimeter. This required just three radars and immediately provided highly effective perimeter protection and a comprehensive overview of site activity.

However, the system has since been extended as, over the years, continuous communication between Navtech and Shannon Airport revealed further potential benefits. Among the first additions was AdvanceGuard’s friend or foe capability. This uses a tagging system to tell AdvanceGuard whether an activity or vehicle is legitimate or not, and to trigger an alarm (or not) accordingly.


Enhanced situational awareness solution

For Shannon Airport, the benefits of friend or foe were not limited to surveillance precision; it also enhanced situational awareness by providing easy to read, real-time visibility of the location of authorised personnel and vehicles on site, regardless of the weather or lighting conditions.

Later, the airport applied AdvanceGuard’s integrated ADS-B capability to identify and track aircraft. The long-term problem of nuisance alarms triggered by wildlife has also been effectively managed using AdvanceGuard’s rules-based system. By specifying the size and source location of objects to be detected in specific areas, the number of nuisance alarms have been greatly reduced – airport managers requested a residual amount because a few such alarms provide ongoing ‘proof of life’ for the system.

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