The first of five new or upgraded Serco radars that prevent wind farms interfering with the UK’s air defence capability is now fully operational.

The Ministry of Defence said that the Remote Radar Head (RRH) Trimingham in Norfolk gained Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in autumn 2011 and has now demonstrated acceptable mitigation to the effects of the Sheringham Shoal wind farm.

The demos have now been completed. 

Serco has provided and installed the radar and has further contracts to realise the same capability at four other UK locations where air defence radars are affected by wind farm development.

The other locations are: RRH Brizlee Wood, Northumberland; RRH Staxton Wold, North Yorkshire; RRH Buchan, Eastern Scotland; and RRH Benbecula, Western Scotland.

Each of these radars is now expected to progressively achieve full operating capability, Serco said. 

The company has been working with Lockheed Martin to optimise the necessary radar technology that mitigates the interference created by wind farm turbine blades.

It has also been responsible for the overall system performance, system installation, undertaking the safety case analysis, installing new ground to air radios and, in addition, providing ongoing consultancy to the energy companies in relation to their plans for future wind farm developments for a period until 2018.

Serco managing director for defence Matt Wiles said: “We are all delighted by the declaration made by the Ministry of Defence that they are satisfied that the solution provides sufficient operational mitigation for Sheringham Shoal.”

Image: Serco staff in one of the radar domes (Serco)