Stealth solutions -- Radar concerns

The potential of applying stealth technology developed for American military aircraft to wind turbines is being studied by a consortium led by BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre in Britain and involving the UK technology division of Vestas. The aim is to make wind turbines less visible to radar and other communications systems.

Dozens of wind projects in Europe and America, representing thousands of megawatt of potential development, are on hold due to concerns they may interfere with radar units operated by defence, aviation and shipping authorities. BAE's research, beyond developing material and design solutions to minimise interference, finds the radar cross section of the tower and nacelle can be reduced significantly by modifications to the profile, without the need for the application of radar absorbing materials. It also concludes that the main contribution to radar interference comes from the blades.

The work devised stealth treatments for the nacelle and tower components that can be implemented without major changes to current manufacturing processes. It also developed several radar absorbing material treatments for the turbine blade components. Feedback from Vestas indicates the stealth solutions proposed for both the tower and nacelle are commercially viable. Further development is required, however, to develop the blade solution sufficiently to ensure it makes commercial sense. The work is being backed by the UK government.