Tech From Stealth Warplanes Make Wind Turbines Invisible to Radar

Illustration for article titled Tech From Stealth Warplanes Make Wind Turbines Invisible to Radar

From afar, wind turbines look like small toys spinning lazily in the wind. But get up close, and you realize what huge structures they really are: hundreds of feet tall, blade tips slicing through the air at over 100 mph. And these wind turbines can really scramble airport and weather radars. To solve the problem, engineers turned to the radar-evading pros: stealth fighter planes.


When Energies Nouvelles of France builds what will be the country's biggest wind farm ever, they will be using "stealth turbines" inspired by military technology. As Popular Science explains, there are two main strategies for making planes invisible to radar. Ordinarily, planes can be identified by the radar signals that bounce of them. One strategy is a specially formulated coating that turns the radar signals into heat. Another is an oddly angular body that deflects radar in a certain way. The wind turbines in France will likely be coated with the radar-erasing material.

Ironically, the need for these coatings on turbines came from the military, too. France's military keeps radar stations all over the country, which can be disrupted by wind farms nearby. In France alone, 6,000 megawatts worth of wind farm projects have been blocked for fears of radar interference. In comparison, this new wind farm, which will be France's largest, will have a capacity of 96 megawatts. That's 96 invisible-to-radar megawatts. [Reuters via Popular Science]


Top image: ankiro/shutterstock

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There is now a company called Whalepower that is trying to put whale like bumps on the edges of these wind turbine blades to reduce drag / stall. This also includes aircraft. I actually saw this in a children's magazine called "Highlights" while waiting to get my tooth pulled! Amazing what you can learn in the waiting room. Here is their site!

Science is still just mimicking nature - Leonardo da Vinci integrated many animal features into his inventions and we just now caught up to da Vinci and we are never going to catch nature.