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Raytheon Resolves Rotor-Reading Radar Ruckus

|Includes: Raytheon Company (RTN)

Wind farms - those clusters of towering wind-driven turbines that are becoming a popular means of generating electricity - have been found to have one major flaw: they interfere with the radar used by airports to track aircraft. Primary radar systems (NYSEARCA:PSR) rely on tracking electromgnetic pulses they send out and are echoed back to them. The problem: there is a doppler shift involved in the reflected pulse caused by the turbines in jet engines. Unfortunately, the same kind of doppler shift is received by signals reflected by wind-driven turbines in a wind farm. The result: PSRs can't tell the difference between aircraft and wind turbines, so that an aircraft's signal can get lost in the vicinity of a wind farm.

Various means have been used to try to "mask" the interference, but the solutions have had limited success, and involve tremendous costs in terms of technology and application. (The problem is so serious that a 60-gigawatt wind farm in England has had to be kept off-line because of the interference it was causing.)

Raytheon, one of the principal manufacturers of the radar systems in use in air traffic control centers, has developed a four-component radar enhancement system that dramatically improves the ability of PSRs to filter out the interference from wind farms. Test-installation of the enhancement to severely affected areas has resulted in improvement in aircraft detection to a level exceeding accepted aircraft detection probabilities.

The enhancement not only works with Raytheon-produced radar systems, but with third-party systems, as well.

This sort of research and development is what keeps Raytheon at the cutting edge of technology.

You can read Raytheon's press release about the enhancement here.

You may read my recent article about Raytheon and other defense contractors in my article "The Companies of Area 51."