Manston Airport is to have a new multi-million pound radar system to ensure offshore wind turbines are not mistaken for aircraft. Thales, a global aerospace technology company, is to replace the existing radar and air traffic display system.
The new system is designed to present a clearer picture to air traffic controllers and boost reliability and safety. Rotating wind turbine blades can cause so-called radar clutter that resembles the picture from a moving aircraft. The situation is expected to worsen with the development of wind farms in the Thames Estuary off Thanet, including Thanet Offshore and London Array.
The new system will be linked to a transponder zone over the wind farms. Charles Buchanan, airport chief executive, said the state-of-the-art system would allow aircraft to continue to fly safely and efficiently over the wind farms. The airport is owned by Infratil, a New Zealand company. Mr Buchanan added:
“This major investment demonstrates our owner’s commitment to the future of Manston Airport and ensures the continued operation of the airport alongside the development of the offshore wind farms. As the growth of wind energy increases, it’s vital that the nationally-important industries of aviation and renewables develop together to support the UK’s recovering economy.”
David Lockwood, head of Thales UK’s air operations business, said:
“The Thales radar is ideal for Manston due to the large offshore wind farms that lie close to the airport. This contract builds upon the successful Thales ATM systems, at Inverness, Belfast International, and Cardiff airports, and reinforces our position as a leading supplier of radar and display systems to regional airports and the UK civil ATM market.”
kentonline 7th Jan 2011