NATS secures Frodsham mitigation contract

UK air traffic services provider NATS has signed a major contract to provide a wind turbine mitigation service for Frodsham Wind Farm.

The turnkey surveillance solution will mitigate the impact of the 19 turbine 50MW onshore wind farm, owned by Peel Energy and Belltown Power, on the radar systems at both Chester Hawarden and Liverpool John Lennon airports.

The solution will be delivered into service in February 2016, after which NATS is contracted to operate and maintain it on behalf of the wind farm.

Wind turbines can cause interference to the radar signals air traffic controllers use to direct aircraft. The turbine blades can appear as ‘clutter’ on radar screens and be mistaken for aircraft.

Traditionally this has been addressed by ‘blanking’ out the area, which while effective is not a long term sustainable solution.

The NATS solution is based on the Terma SCANTER 4002 radar, which has been demonstrated as being resilient to the impact of wind turbines, with a Cobham Mosaic Processor which will provide a mitigated radar display to the controllers at each of the affected airports.

The contract with Frodsham WF Ltd. follows a number of successful trials at UK airports that demonstrated that the Terma system was capable of safely mitigating the impact of turbines while detecting even small targets beyond 40nm with good low level coverage.  Further, there has been a significant amount of work by the project team to develop a regulator approved Safety Case Part 2 for a windfarm tolerant technology.

NATS believes that this is the first wind turbine resilient radar system, not requiring terrain shielding, to achieve this milestone in the UK, and is now working with the rest of the team to deliver the overall project.

Anthony Hatton, strategic projects director at Peel, said “We’re delighted to have achieved the important milestone of financial close which marks the completion of all key contracts for the wind farm.  We’re now looking forward to seeing the mitigation solution going into operational service in the first quarter of next year ahead of the wind turbines arriving on site. The wind farm is expected to be fully commissioned, with the mitigation signed off, in the last quarter of 2016.”

Iain Harris, NATS engineering services director, added: “We’re delighted to be working with Peel, Terma and Cobham to deliver this mitigation solution into both Chester Hawarden and Liverpool John Lennon Airports. The team has achieved a significant milestone in delivering an approved Safety Case Part 2 for this first of type solution in the UK and is now working to deliver the overall project.”

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