German weather service Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) has deployed Lockheed Martin’s WindTracer Doppler lidar systems at Frankfurt and Munich airports to detect hazardous winds and aircraft wakes.
The deployment forms part of the low level wind shear alert system (LLWAS), delivered by Selex Systems Integration, which comprises WindTracer lidar and weather radar.
The addition of WindTracer lidar at the two major airports will enable DWD to offer concise data on wind shear, which can adversely impact aircraft during landing and takeoff.
Complementing radar in dry and clear weather conditions, WindTracer examines atmospheric conditions and assesses wind speed and direction alongside airport flight paths.
Lockheed Martin WindTracer programmes director Michael Margulis said that WindTracer represents an affordable wind shear detection system for customers around the globe.
"Combined with weather radar, the system gives the airport a comprehensive picture of wind hazards," Margulis said.
"As a result, the highest detection rate for wind hazards in both dry and wet environments is achieved."
WindTracer operates by generating pulses of eye-safe infrared laser light that replicate natural aerosol particles in the atmosphere and these particles are moved by the wind, which changes the frequency of the light that is returned to the system.
The WindTracer then processes the return signal and automatically identifies hazardous winds, while boosting operational safety during harsh weather conditions.
WindTracer lidar has been added following International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommendation to provide concise information on wind shear.
WindTracer has previously been deployed at airports including Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka, London, New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas.
Image: WindTracer lidar deployed at the Munich Airport. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.