Radar resists wind farm interference

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Together with its partner Lockheed Martin, Serco has reached an agreement with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to introduce new radar technology into the UK Air Defence System that is resistant to the interference generated from wind farms, removing a significant planning obstacle to the roll out of future offshore wind power.

Focusing on the proposed development in the Greater Wash area off the coast of East Anglia, a Lockheed Martin TPS-77 radar will be installed at Remote Radar Head (RRH) Trimingham to coincide with the opening of Scira’s offshore wind farm at Sheringham Shoal.

The radar will mitigate the impact of the wind farm on air defence radar coverage right across the Greater Wash.

The TPS-77 radar itself is an L-band, phased array radar. The radar’s planar array antenna rotates to provide 360° azimuth coverage. As the antenna rotates, the radar transmits pencil beams that are electronically phase scanned to provide complete elevation coverage.

Instead of a single transmitter, the TPS-77 uses 34 distributed solid-state transmitters and receivers that are located on the antenna array - directly coupled to their antenna elements. This architecture eliminates high-power rotary joints and central transmitters - two common single points of failure in most long-range radars. Only low-level IF signals pass across slip rings to off-array signal and data processing equipment.

The Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm, located between 17km and 23km off the coast of North Norfolk, will comprise 88 wind turbines capable of generating 317MW of capacity.