Some 21,000 bird strikes are recorded every year worldwide, which cost the civil aviation industry around US$1.2 billion per year. Bird strikes have been responsible for the loss of 88 aircraft and claimed hundreds of lives.
Both military and civil aviation make effective use of ROBIN radar systems in their quest to prevent bird strikes.
ROBIN bird radar solutions are able to track the exact position, altitude, speed and direction of birds, or flocks of birds. They can also determine the wingbeat pattern, as an important parameter in helping distinguish species – which is useful in determining the level of risk posed to aircraft and which deterrent technique to deploy.
There are important differences between bird strike prevention in air forces and in civil aviation.
Air forces use ROBIN systems in combination with their military surveillance radars for en route bird strike prevention, during low flying exercises for example. With their long-range detection, these systems can scan hundreds of kilometers around. When a bird strike risk through high bird migration densities is identified, it is relatively easy for air forces to postpone flights or bring them in.
In civil aviation, bird radar will ultimately be able to support real-time decision-making and automated deterrence. For example, through integration with real-time air traffic operations, systems could be used to provide risk assessments to pilots, who can then choose the safest runway or approach route accordingly.
However, this is a complex field, and one that isn't fully developed yet. In the meantime, bird radars have a significant contribution to make. Today, bird radars are focused mainly on the take-off and landing operations, which benefit from: