£ 3.8million in contracts awarded to mitigate wind farm radar risk


Funded by the BEIS Net Zero innovation portfolio and provided by MOD, the Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA) with the support of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) awarded contracts worth £ 3.8million for Phase 2 of Wind Farm Mitigation for UK Air Defense, a competition that aims to develop technologies to reduce the impact of offshore wind farms on Air Defense surveillance (AD ).

Offshore wind will play a key role in achieving the net zero ambition by 2050, with a government commitment to increase it to 40 GW by the end of the decade. To meet the net zero targets, the UK will need additional offshore wind farms around the UK.

The Windfarm Mitigation for UK Air Defense competition was organized on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and conducted in partnership with the Royal Air Force (RAF), to seek ideas from industry and academia to reduce the negative impact wind farms can have on AD surveillance and air traffic control (ATC) systems.

Technologies that were submitted during the competition include:

  • alternative technologies that could reduce radar clutter caused by offshore wind farms
  • improved probability of intruder detection
  • the ability to fill or remove gaps in radar coverage
  • alternatives to radar
  • solutions to the cumulative effect of wind farm development
  • metasurfaces applied or modifications made to the design of wind turbines
  • changes to the initial radar signal or radar station or feedback processing

Wing Commander Kevin Walton, co-chair of the Department of Defense / Offshore Wind Industry Council Air Defense Mitigation Working Group, said:

“Offshore wind will play a major role in achieving our net zero goals. The technology developed in this competition will help the UK meet its renewable energy targets without compromising surveillance of UK airspace.

“In addition, the technology being developed will help boost UK prosperity, entrepreneurs and innovators by investing in innovative technologies.

“Phase 2 of this competition builds on the activities of Phase 1 and goes further to identify operational systems that will allow the coexistence of offshore wind farms and UK air defense and ATC surveillance systems. United.

Aviation and wind farms work together

Seven projects led by six organizations received Phase 2 funding to accelerate their innovative solutions. The organizations are:

Advanced Materials Development Ltd

Phase 2 funding: £ 392,605

Their solution introduces advanced nanoscale radar absorption (nRAM) material into the fabrication stage of offshore wind farms, ensuring that RF absorption is integrated into the base materials of offshore wind farms.

Saab Technologies UK Ltd

Phase 2 funding: £ 599,692

Integrate machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques into air defense radars, providing a reliable aerial surveillance image in noisy and congested environments.

Trelleborg applied technologies

Phase 2 funding: £ 600,000

Their solution is to provide a framework (materials and equipment absorbing the complete radar) to mitigate radar interference from wind turbines.

Thales UK Ltd (Project 1)

Phase 2 funding: £ 481,019

Design and demonstrate multistatic fixed radar systems using a validated synthetic environment, to ensure continuous aerial surveillance in all weather conditions in and around wind farms.

Thales UK Ltd (Project 2)

Phase 2 funding: £ 599,970

A solution to synchronize two distant holographic radars to demonstrate synchronized multistatic fixed radar (MSAR), to reduce the impact of wind farm congestion and improve detection and tracking performance.

Phase 2 funding: £ 505,938

A solution involving multiple low-cost multi-role passive sensors on wind turbine nacelles that can transform wind turbines from a radar disruptor to becoming the eyes and ears of forward air defense.

TWI Limited

Phase 2 funding: £ 600,000

A solution to develop a new method of manufacturing metasurfaces to mitigate radar clutter caused by wind farms.

Ensuring the UK can continue to defend its airspace and aircraft flight safety

These solutions will ensure the continued development of vital wind turbine sites, without impacting military ADs and ATCs.

What happened in phase 1?

This follows Windfarm Mitigation for UK Air Defense: Phase 1, where £ 2million of contracts were awarded to Thales, QinetiQ, Saab, TWI and Plextek DTS to accelerate their ideas for technologies that could mitigate the impact of fleets. wind turbines on the UK’s AD radar system.

Phase 1 identified and advanced several promising avenues for wind farm radar mitigation, such as new methods of radar signal processing or radar absorption treatments and the application of metamaterials to control the radar signature of wind turbines. . Additional results recommended a hybrid approach, involving modifications to both the radar and the turbine design to resolve the problem in the long term. Phase 2 studies aim to clarify this further. Read more about it here.


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