The UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched a £2m competition to ‘reduce and remove’ the impact of wind farms on air defence systems.
New technology developed as part of the competition will ensure the UK can expand green energy growth while ensuring future wind farms do not affect the UK’s air defence radar system.
As part of the competition, DASA and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will seek proposals for innovative solutions and advances in technology that alleviates the impact off-shore wind turbines have on both civilian and military radar.
The competition is being led by DASA with the support of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Royal Air Force (RAF), and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).
Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: “Defence technologies have a huge amount to offer the demands of the 21st-century UK – including addressing the challenge of climate change.
“We have an incredible skills base in the UK and this initiative will harness the power of wind turbines whilst ensuring our air defence standards.”
RAF Air Command air capability development group engineer Wing Commander Helena Ramsden said: “We are investing in cutting-edge innovation and harnessing the best technology from the brightest minds in the country.”
Ramsden added that the technology would help the RAF keep the skies above the UK safe while accelerating crucial work in combatting climate change.
The competition is part of a wider cross-government push to generate 30GW – around 30% of the UK’s electricity requirements – from offshore wind by the year 2030
DASA delivery manager Adam Moore said: “Crucial innovation like this is vital if we are to meet our renewable energy targets.
“This competition will not only help us meet our green energy needs but it will help boost UK prosperity, entrepreneurs and innovators, by investing in their game-changing technology.”
Wind turbines affect radar systems through reflections from the static and moving components. Although filters can remove the static components, the spinning blades cause a Doppler shift on the radar making the reflections hard to remove. This Doppler shift on ground radar mimics the signal of fast-moving, low flying threats making it harder for the RAF to discern between possible threats.
The competition involved four challenges, one to look at alternatives to radar, two for technology that can be applied to the wind turbine itself, three for systems that are applied to the radar itself. The fourth challenge is for systems that achieve the same goals but do not fit the above requirements.
Contracts resulting from the competition will be awarded in March 2021.