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Serco awarded new contract to help counter the effects of wind farms on UK air defence radar

Published: 13 Jan 2012

Serco Group plc (Serco), the international service company, announces that it has been awarded a new prime contract by the UK Ministry of Defence to further deploy innovative radar technology to prevent wind farms interfering with the UK's air defence radars.

New air defence radars will be provided at Remote Radar Head (RRH) Brizlee Wood, Northumberland and RRH Staxton Wold, North Yorkshire. Serco has previously been awarded a contract to support the introduction of new radar technology at RRH Trimingham, Norfolk. The new contract is valued at £27m over two years and the total combined contract value to Serco is approximately £45m over a three-year period.

In its capacity as prime contractor, Serco is working with Lockheed Martin in the US to develop and provide radar technology that resists interference created by wind farm turbine blades; the lack of such technology had previously impeded the roll out of wind farms in line of sight of air defence radar stations. Serco is also responsible for the overall system performance, undertaking the safety case analysis, introducing new ground to air communications and providing ongoing consultancy to the energy companies in relation to their plans for future wind farm developments for a period until 2018.

The installation of the three new radar systems allows the development of up to four gigawatts of renewable energy, enough to power two million homes. The innovative technological solution mitigates the problems posed by wind farms for UK air defence radar, and as a result clears a path for the MOD and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to enable the further development of wind farms and so help the Government realise its target of reducing carbon emissions.

Christopher Hyman, Chief Executive of Serco Group, said: "Serco's innovative approach is enabling the delivery of a key programme to the Ministry of Defence whilst helping address one of the challenges of developing wind farms in the UK. We are delighted that we are able to meet the needs of our customer in the Ministry of Defence whilst fully supporting the wider Government agenda for a low carbon economy and greater energy security. Serco will be directly involved in monitoring over 700,000 square miles of airspace around the UK, which along with our RAF Fylingdales activities, underlines the breadth of our capabilities in the air surveillance sector."