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DHS asks Raytheon to study impact of wind turbines on radar systems

Wind turbines at Logan

DHS has awarded a contract worth more than $22 million to Raytheon Company to develop an “impact assessment methodology” that will help determine if power-generating wind turbines located near airports can interfere with radar systems and make it harder for air traffic officials to “monitor non-cooperative aircraft.”

“Unfortunately, studies conducted both within the United States and within the United Kingdom reveal that wind turbines do indeed have an adverse effect on our radars,” said the contract award notice, which was published by DHS on Dec. 28. The administration’s goal to develop such an impact methodology was reported by GSN on Dec. 17, 2009.

Raytheon will be responsible for the design, development, verification, validation and implementation of a comprehensive system to accurately model the effects that wind turbines have on radars. As part of those responsibilities, Raytheon will develop an interface between a wind turbine and a radar system, and model the radars, wind turbines, radio frequency (RF) propagation environments and performance of command-and-control systems, explains a DHS broad agency announcement released in 2009 and updated last February.

“The overall goal with this effort is to develop a sound, unimpeachable impact assessment methodology that eliminates the subjectivity inherent in current procedures,” says the DHS notice.

DHS notes that its mission includes ensuring that the nation’s radar systems remain uninhibited by man-made obstructions -- such as nearby wind turbine farms – that can prevent aviation officials from spotting threatening aircraft. “The stakeholders’ intent is not to impede the propagation of wind turbines,” assures the DHS notice, “but to discover a means to co-exist.”

The award for $22,066,584 was made to a Raytheon unit based in Marlborough, MA.

Further information about the contract and the overall program is available from Susan Eicher, of DHS, at 202-254-2363 or susan.eicher@dhs.gov.


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