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Primary radar systems at British airports.

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Primary radar systems at British airports.

Old 21st Jan 2018, 12:36
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Primary radar systems at British airports.

It's been a few years since this was discussed.
At Leeds Bradford the 1989-vintage Plessey Watchman is still turning and doing the business. I believe its had a few upgrades and tweaks over the years, some very recent. As far as I know, none of the NATS airfields are still using the Watchman but I think Newcastle and East Midlands still have their Marconi S511s. Built to last ?
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 12:56
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Still got a Watchman at EGPH. Although there is a Terma SCANTER 4002 which has been under trial for a year and I think the eventual plan is for this to replace the Watchman.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 13:06
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Thankyou Glamdring. I thought the Edinburgh Watchman might have gone during the NATS era but obviously not. I haven't heard of the Terma SCANTER model before. Must investigate. I know Thales and Raytheon primary radars are a popular choice for new installations these days.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 15:30
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Originally Posted by Mooncrest View Post
Thankyou Glamdring. I thought the Edinburgh Watchman might have gone during the NATS era but obviously not. I haven't heard of the Terma SCANTER model before. Must investigate. I know Thales and Raytheon primary radars are a popular choice for new installations these days.
I wouldn't call the Raytheon ASR10 'popular'; it's rubbish compared with the Watchman but the problem is, the users (radar controllers) don't have any say if the airport they work at decides to buy one.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 15:32
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Newcastle has a Thales STAR 2000 PSR and a Terma SCANTER 4002 as a windfarm infill radar. I think that East Midlands still has the S511 - a replacement/update was mooted some time ago but I don't know if a decision has been made. They also use an Aveillant Theia 16A for windfarm mitigation.

Last edited by Simtech; 21st Jan 2018 at 15:53.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 16:51
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East Mids' even have their own wind farm too.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 17:04
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Originally Posted by ZOOKER View Post
East Mids' even have their own wind farm too.
I was born and brought up not far from EMA, and went to school in Spondon, the location of the windfarm that requires the mitigation radar.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 17:16
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
I wouldn't call the Raytheon ASR10 'popular'; it's rubbish compared with the Watchman but the problem is, the users (radar controllers) don't have any say if the airport they work at decides to buy one.
I don't mean popular as in well-loved but rather the one everyone goes for, for some indeterminate reason. What's the problem with the ASR10, compared to the Watchman and the S511 ?
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 17:24
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Originally Posted by Simtech View Post
Newcastle has a Thales STAR 2000 PSR and a Terma SCANTER 4002 as a windfarm infill radar. I think that East Midlands still has the S511 - a replacement/update was mooted some time ago but I don't know if a decision has been made. They also use an Aveillant Theia 16A for windfarm mitigation.
Obviously I am behind the times. Most pictures of Newcastle Airport I have seen have the S511 lurking in a corner. When did they get the Thales ?

I've seen a few pictures of the Terma Scanter now but the Aveillant is another new one on me.

Leeds Bradford is surrounded by windfarms but there's no obvious extra piece of equipment for windfarm mitigation. The Watchman was 4G-proofed some years ago and a new data processor came along in 2016. I don't know if the latter has dealt with the windfarm issue though.

Last edited by Mooncrest; 21st Jan 2018 at 18:02.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 17:39
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'Twas in 2016...

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news...-high-11481086
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 18:02
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Originally Posted by Simtech View Post
Thankyou Simtech.
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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 09:14
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Originally Posted by Glamdring View Post
Still got a Watchman at EGPH. Although there is a Terma SCANTER 4002 which has been under trial for a year and I think the eventual plan is for this to replace the Watchman.
Well it's not really a Watchman. It's a Watchman antenna but the electronics were all replaced some years ago with the Sensis SPE 3000 transmitter etc, turning it into what is called an NASR10. Glasgow and the wind farm mitigation radar at Kincardine are the same configuration.

The only other remaining S511s are at Prestwick (which is another hybrid
- basically S511 electronics with a Watchman antenna) and the MoD range at Manorbier in Wales.
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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 10:26
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So Newcastle and Inverness have the Thales. Anyone else ? The Raytheon ASR10 seems to be the other new generation machine.

Interesting to read about these hybrid Watchman and Marconi mash-ups. I know this used to go on some years ago, e.g. the Cossor ACR6 becoming an EN4000 or something like that. Probably companies like Selex and MARIS get involved. How does an operator gain approval to commission a hybrid radar ?

Did Ronaldsway ever get their Watchman replacement off the ground ?
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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 12:42
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Originally Posted by Mooncrest View Post
I don't mean popular as in well-loved but rather the one everyone goes for, for some indeterminate reason. What's the problem with the ASR10, compared to the Watchman and the S511 ?
Holes.
Whereas the Watchman has Adaptive MTI and thus 'cancels' just non-moving objects and slow moving weather returns, the ASR 10 we had at Farnborough relied not only on cancelling non-moving objects but also on designating areas of the radar where the threshold speed was adjusted to cancel out unwanted moving objects too. A prime example is the Hogs Back upon which the A31 road runs. With Watchman and its predecessors you could see road traffic on it and you got used to it; they were only tiny 'blips' anyway, but the ASR10 displays a much larger processed symbol and has this whole area cancelled by a threshold speed of supposedly 50kts rather than the 30kts around the rest of the picture; all I know is anyone flying a slow moving aircraft or doing training or aeros in this area doesn't show at all on primary radar. A similar effect occurs in several other places, plus of course the setting up PEs have to be in an area where the threshold speed is set to zero.
Unless you had worked with the AR1 and Watchman at Farnborough, you wouldn't realise there are holes, but they are definitely there.
Never seen an S511 picture so I don't know what it would be like.

Last edited by chevvron; 22nd Jan 2018 at 12:53.
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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 12:49
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I understand that all the Watchman radars at MOD sites will be replaced by Thales equipment (possibly the STAR 2000NG) as part of Project Marshall, the modernisation/update programme for military ATC.
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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 12:51
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Thales STAR-2000s at Newcastle, Inverness, Manston [since withdrawn], Belfast International, Cardiff, Oxford, Guernsey, Birmingham, plus 20 at RAF and other military units, first one now in place, others being installed up to 2021.

Isle of Man has a Leonardo (formerly Selex) ATCR-33S. Commissioned Sept 2017. Other ATCR-33s at Southend, Bristol, Belfast City, Bournemouth and Newquay. Plus an ATCR-44 at Warton.
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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 13:01
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Re chevvron's "holes", quite apart from the different MTI threshold speeds, this is an inevitable consequence of replacing raw video display radars like the Watchman with plot-extracted radars. The former will display anything deemed to be a valid plot on first scan; the plot-extracted radars have to see a plot on at least three consecutive scans before they'll display it. For things like gliders that may appear fleetingly on only one scan, this inevitably means the newer radars will be giving a lot less information on this type of target to controllers. For those providing ATSOCAS that can be a significant concern.

It will be particularly interesting to see how the RAF deals with this issue with their shiny new STAR-2000s.
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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 16:10
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Might be an idea for LBA (and anyone else who still has one) to hang on to their Watchman for a while longer, or at least until the 'holes' get filled in.
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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 18:42
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Re chevvron's "holes", quite apart from the different MTI threshold speeds, this is an inevitable consequence of replacing raw video display radars like the Watchman with plot-extracted radars. The former will display anything deemed to be a valid plot on first scan; the plot-extracted radars have to see a plot on at least three consecutive scans before they'll display it. For things like gliders that may appear fleetingly on only one scan, this inevitably means the newer radars will be giving a lot less information on this type of target to controllers. For those providing ATSOCAS that can be a significant concern.
Indeed, it is quite a surprise for some people just how much a modern 'heavily' processed display system can distort reality. Maybe not much of a problem when radar and other surveillance systems are used to provide control services inside controlled airspace but a potential gotcha in the UK where ATC in all but name is done outside CAS (and anywhere else that does the same......if there is anywhere). Seem to recall that there was a CAP issued some years ago giving some detail of the delays and approximations that can exist in a radar picture.
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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 19:09
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Originally Posted by Mooncrest View Post
Leeds Bradford is surrounded by windfarms but there's no obvious extra piece of equipment for windfarm mitigation. The Watchman was 4G-proofed some years ago and a new data processor came along in 2016. I don't know if the latter has dealt with the windfarm issue though.
Its been a while since I've been there but since LBA is pretty much on top of a hill, are the wind farms nearby effectively below the radar's field of view?
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