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19 Jul 04. Progress towards the UK government’s targets for Energy from Renewable Sources are currently being slowed by the number of planning objections to proposed Windfarms from the MoD and civil airports which operate radars. Windfarms can produce severe interference with radars potentially jeapordising flight safety. AMS is investing in the technology to overcome the problem. We are working closely with the British Wind Energy Association and government stakeholders to demonstrate the solution on a “live” radar which already experiences interference in a non-safety critical area.

Over many years, AMS has worked on “filtering” techniques for radars, on methods of linking multiple radars together to generate a common picture and more recently on the detailed analysis of windfarms. We have combined this research to form the windfarm “toolkit”.

The toolkit’s filtering techniques are used in multiple military applications – for instance differentiating the radar track of a missile threatening a Royal Navy vessel from the false tracks generated by waves or even seabirds. Using innovative mathematical techniques hosted on an “Advanced Digital Tracker”, this technology can be applied to the windfarm problem, “cleaning up” the radar picture and maintaining flight safety.

AMS has supplied the majority of the Radars used in the UK on regional civil airfields, RAF bases and for RAF air defence (surveillance). The operation of all these radar types would be affected by the building of a windfarm within their range and line of sight, but we believe the toolkit offers a solution in almost all cases.


AMS has analysed in detail the “S511” and “Watchman” Air Traffic Control (ATC) radars. A large wind turbine blade is similar in length to a light, two-seater aircraft and when the turbine is revolving at its maximum speed, the blade tip is moving at a similar speed to a small aircraft’s flight. On a radar screen a windfarm will therefore appear as hundreds of small planes appearing, flying in multiple, random, directions and disappearing again. On an unmodified S511 or Watchman it becomes impossible to track real aircraft through this maze of false tracks.

The RAF and the Regional Airports who work to Civil Aviation Authority regulations are currently blocking over 40% of windfarm planning applications on the basis of the very real threat to air safety which would result from windfarm radar interaction if no other technical action is taken.

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