Holographic radar may allow for wind turbines near airport

Holographic technology at an airport in Scotland could enable development of wind turbines nearby that would otherwise interfere with radar systems.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport (GPA) has selected research firm Cambridge Consultants to provide the first stage in the radar interference mitigation technology.

The area around GPA could support hundreds of turbines, but cannot yet be developed because of the interference they would create with the airport’s primary radar systems.

The technology will be based on Cambridge Consultants’ Holographic Radar, a continuously tracking 3D system that can reliably tell the difference between turbines and aircraft based on easily observable differences in their behaviour.

Anne Mackenzie, group manager at GPA’s owner Infratil Airports Europe, said: ‘We are supporting holographic radar as it is a no-degradation solution that can operate at low level without loss of cover.

‘Not only is it spectrum friendly, but its 3D plots make seamless integration into existing radar displays easier. As a modular system, it should make the roll-out of mitigation solutions for various wind farms more straightforward.’

The system received funding from the government’s Aviation Management Board and the wind industry’s funding body, the Aviation Investment Fund Company, following a small trial for the Ministry of Defence in 2009.

Cambridge Consultants hopes the commission by GPA will be a significant first step towards the deployment of Holographic Radar as a standard aviation industry technology.