RAF

Lossiemouth Becomes First RAF Base To Trial New Bird Tracking Radar

The radar system can accurately track avian activity as far as 10km and up to a height of 700m.

RAF Lossiemouth has become the first Royal Air Force station to trial a new radar system that helps protect jets from the threat of bird strikes.

An advanced 3D bird detection system has been installed at the Highlands base to map bird activity around the airfield.

The ROBIN 3D MAX radar system provides real-time height and positional information of airborne targets in 360 degrees and can accurately track avian activity as far as 10km and up to a height of 700m.

RAF Lossiemouth is home to four Quick Reaction Alert fast jet squadrons as well as the new P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft fleet.

Flying activity at the base has been minimised during periods of peak bird activity in the past to prevent the risk of a bird strike. 

It is hoped that having the ability to provide more tactically managed mitigation will have a safer, less obstructive impact on flying.

Project Winchell will see a 12-month trial of the technology at the Moray airbase, also providing valuable research for other RAF stations in the future.

The radar provides real-time height and positional information of airborne targets in 360 degrees (Picture: RAF).

Lossiemouth Project Manager, Squadron Leader Douglas Timms, said: "RAF Lossiemouth has a unique bird strike risk due to being a coastal airfield surrounded by farmland containing a large number of pig farms.

"There are high numbers of corvids and seagulls in the vicinity of the RAF base and every winter around 10,000 geese arrive in Findhorn Bay."

Squadron Leader Pete Surtees, Poseidon Crew, said: "I was extremely impressed with both how accurate it was and the fidelity. 

"It seemed to accurately depict not only the number and size of the birds but the height, location and direction of travel."

Cover image: The ROBIN 3D MAX radar system at RAF Lossiemouth (Picture: RAF).