US FAA trials technologies to reduce wind farms’ impact on radar

15 May 2013 (Last Updated May 15th, 2013 18:30)

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has trialled technologies to address the impact of wind farms on radar, which could have a bearing on both civil aviation and security.

Windfarm

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has trialled technologies to address the impact of wind farms on radar, which could have a bearing on both civil aviation and security.

FAA conducted series of test flights during the US IFT and E3 trials near the Indian Mesa wind farm in Iraan, west Texas, US, to assess the impact.

The trials were organised by the FAA, in collaboration with Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security and Department of Energy, while Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory was responsible for assessing the trials

Participants in the trail also included Aveillant and other firms including Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.

As part of the trial, UK firm Aveillant deployed its HR5 radar, which is a single array with a five nautical mile range and a slimmed down variant of the company's 20 nautical mile product that is currently in its final development stage.

Aveillant's radar was used to asses the impact from wind farms and it observed a wide range of flights without any degradation from the wind farm.

During the trials, the radar offered coverage of the whole airspace, tracking aircraft over the wind farm including those flown instantly above it, without disturbance by the wind turbines, while offering several reports per second, and rendering the airspace clear for the air traffic control use.

Aveillant chief technology officer Gordon Oswald said, "We don't know exactly what was flown overhead - we're talking about the most sophisticated government in the world here, and they will be out to test us - but we can confirm that several different types of aircraft were detected above and around the wind farm, and that our radar easily distinguished between wind farms and different types of aircraft."

Additionally, the radar separately measured the turbines' positions, distinguishing between them and the aircraft.

Aveillant CEO David Crisp said the radar and wind farm clutter is a global issue, and this year it made sense to take part in the US showcase.

"The UK MoD's trials on an offshore wind farm required a longer range solution to meet entry requirements, which we are not ready to unveil until later this year," Crisp said.

According to Aveillant, the radar's precision waveform, which is used to detect wind turbine and aircraft signatures, engaged only 1.5MHz of the radio spectrum, while supporting broad deployment of holographic radar without any requirement of excessive spectrum.


Image: The trials in Texas were aimed at reducing the impact of wind farms on radar for both civil and security purposes. Photo: Courtesy of Leaflet.