Clearing windfarm radar clutter

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Technology designed to reduce the disruption caused by windfarms to civil and military radar systems has been unveiled by BAE Systems.

The defence and aerospace giant worked with partners including the DTI, the RAF and the British Wind Energy Association to develop processing technology called the Advanced Digital Tracker (ADT).

The rotation of turbine blades can cause havoc to radar signals, creating a phenomenon known as ‘clutter’ that can lead to false readings or the disappearance of aircraft from radar screens as they pass above a windfarm. The disruption is so great that the aviation industry regularly objects on safety grounds to applications to build windfarms.

The ADT processor filters the data from radars to remove the windfarm interference and give radar operators visibility of an aircraft’s progress through the area.

BAE said recent trials of the system near four working windfarms in mid-Wales had proved successful. During the tests, a military Watchman air traffic control radar was able to track an RAF Hawk during a high g-force manoeuvre over the Carno Windfarm in Powys.

The number of UK windfarms is expected to increase significantly as the government encourages investment in alternative energy sources.