A three-year government counter-drone strategy will include a special mobile ‘seek and destroy’ unit.

To be set up by the Home Office, the technology will reportedly feature military-grade cameras, radar and radio frequency scanners.

The aim is to counter rogue drones blamed for causing chaos at Gatwick and Heathrow last Christmas.

A new government-industry group is to be established to research and test the latest counter-drone equipment for use by a new anti-drone force and by police forces, most of which have their own drone technology to help map accidents, search and rescue.

Security minister Brandon Lewis said authorities must be able to crack down effectively on those who would use drones to cause harm or disruption.

“There is no silver bullet to help protect our infrastructure and our citizens from malicious or careless drone use. That’s why this strategy outlines a broad range of work to ensure we can effectively tackle the threat.”

Welcoming the measures, British Airline Pilots Association general secretary Brian Strutton said: “Balpa has campaigned for counter-drone measures to be introduced and we are pleased to see the government both taking drone safety seriously and promoting sustainable growth of the industry – keeping the public safe is imperative if drones are to reach their full potential. 

“We understand the huge commercial and leisure benefits of drones but the threat of a collision with an aircraft is real and could be catastrophic to those on board and on the ground, and so this threat must be taken seriously.

“Even without a collision, the chaos that drones can cause when infiltrating airspace has been proven with what we saw at Gatwick and Heathrow last Christmas.

“We hope the introduction of new technology will deter those so minded to do something similar, and will help with the detection and arrest of those who go ahead with it.”