Wind farms can blind radar

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Wind farms can blind radar

Postby rattler » Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:09 pm

I read about this in El Mundo (Sain) yesterday, the article there was much longer, in-depth and showing graphics (will try and get the paper and copy). Seems some Tornadoes were sent in over wind farms in Wales and suddenly disappeared form Radar when overhead. AFAI understand, the "invisibility zone" is unlimited re: altitude, reason seems to be that the radar sees the wind farms rotors as a/c. R.

SOURCE: Armed Forces International
DATE: FEB 06, 2008

Wind Farms Affecting UK Radar Coverage
A “hole” in radar coverage was discovered immediately above the wind turbines

The Ministry of Defence is said to be concerned by evidence that suggests military aircraft are rendered temporarily invisible to radar when passing over wind farms.

Trials carried out in 2004, and again the next year, highlighted the existence of a “hole” in radar coverage immediately above where wind turbines operate.

Royal Air Force Radar Ability Vital

The Royal Air Force’s ability to follow the progress of aircraft flying in areas covered by radar is vital in terms of preserving both security and safety. Indeed, the Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, is adamant that the capability of radar not be damaged.

The MoD, however, has denied allegations that it has been opposing all applications for the construction of new wind farm sites – a spokesman highlighting how multiple factors need to be considered when a potential location arises.

MoD Working with Wind Farm Developers

The ministry said it was collaborating with those involved in the development of wind farms to discover a solution acceptable to both parties in regards to the radar issue. Within this, it will contribute ideas to the design of turbines and materials that will lessen the problem.

A spokesman for the department commented: "The MoD is committed to government targets for renewable energy and whenever possible we seek to work with wind farm developers to find a mutually acceptable solution.”

In December 2007, John Hutton MP unveiled plans for as many as 7,000 more wind turbines to be added to the landscape. The aim from this is that the power generated will be sourced to every household in the country.

(BTW and OT: we have equalled topic count with the other sections, whats up?)
Sincere condolences to all Norwegians! I guess you will need some aquevit to get over this.

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Re: Wind farms can blind radar

Postby Half Bottle » Thu Feb 07, 2008 6:25 pm

If I am reading the article correctly, it seems as thought the radar "hole" only exists for military aircraft. If true, why are commercial aircraft not similarly affected? Because they are larger? Flying higher?
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Re: Wind farms can blind radar

Postby ZeroAltitude » Fri Feb 08, 2008 5:59 pm

Parlor talking here:

Most radar systems will have some piece of software running inside that will prevent certain targets from showing up on the screens, so as not to clutter it with irrelevant noise and thus obscuring the really important targets.
Of course no one will want to see wind farms on a radar screen, but given their height and the size of their moving parts/rotors, they just about might show up.

So some parameters in the software might have had to be changed, and this in turn might have led to the effect that such windfarms can obscure jets flying near them.

I remember many years ago I read somewhere that US Air Force airborne radars sometimes picked up inexplicable fast-moving targets over Germany. Turned out the radar sets were programmed with the US speed limit for cars of (then) 55 mph in mind, and they picked up cars on German autobahns going at 100 mph ++.
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