Some people object to offshore windmills (see: "Offshore wind farms: grids and gridlock"), but should anyone dislike them so much to want to blow them up, there may be some protection.
With its TPS-77 radar system, military contractorLockheed Martinis helping the United Kingdom detect possible airborne threats to what may become the world's largest offshore wind farm.
Off the eastern coast of England, the large blades of 924 wind turbines may soon be spinning. In addition to producing renewable energy, these rotating blades could also create sensory interference for air defense surveillance.
According to Lockheed Martin, the TPS-77—the latest in 3-D, solid-state radar design—can perform through the "clutter" caused by whirring windmills and home in on aircraft within 250 nautical miles.
The TPS-77 radars’ capabilities in “green” wind field environments has been demonstrated in tests at land-based wind farms near the company’s outdoor test range in Cazenovia, NY, as well as in trials with the Horns Rev offshore wind farm in the North Sea. The radar itself is also highly energy-efficient, delivering top performance while using just half the power of comparable S-band radars.
The British get more of their renewable energy via wind than any other source. (London's fog doesn't bode well for solar). With more than 200 wind farms at sea, the U.K. dethroned Denmark in 2008 as the world's leading offshore wind power producer.
The five wind farms (Docking Shoal, Dudgeon, Race Bank, Sheringham Shoal and Triton Knoll) comprising the project in the Greater Wash Strategic Area might produce more than 5,500 megawatts of energy. There's little wonder the U.K. Ministry of Defense seeks to safeguard them.
Working with Serco, Lockheed will deliver the TPS-77 system across the pond and to the North Sea by November 2011.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com