Stealth blade to free up turbine sites

Qinetiq and Vestas Wind Systems have successfully trialled wind-turbine technology that could release 9GW of potential sites blocked by objections from radar operators.

The ‘Stealth Turbine’ technology comprises a 44m prototype turbine blade that effectively reduces the size of the radar signature made by individual turbines. According to Qinetiq, the reduction is significant enough for wind turbines to be ‘factored out’ of air-traffic-control and air-defence systems.

Recently tested at a wind farm in Norfolk, the Stealth Turbine employs radar absorbing materials (RAM) that are integrated into the current manufacturing processes for turbine components, such as the blades, nacelle and tower.

For the trial, a prototype stealth blade was fitted onto a Vestas V90 turbine. Radar cross-section measurements were taken using the Qinetiq multiband pulsed-radar system, with results showing significant RCS reductions in line with expectations.