ATC Global: LM wind shear solution for Thailand

The Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) will install a Lockheed Martin WindTracerDoppler lidar system at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport as part of its Integrated Windshear Alerting System.

Suvarnabhumi is the sixth busiest airport in Asia, having handled 47.9 million passengers in 2011.

Severe weather events in airport terminal areas, especially wind shear, microbursts and gust fronts, represent great hazards for aviation. Once operational, the Integrated Windshear Alerting System will generate alerts and provide displays of weather information for TMD forecasters and meteorologists.

WindTracer will be an integral component of the system and will monitor atmospheric conditions and measure wind speed and wind direction along the airport’s flight paths. The WindTracer will automatically detect and report hazardous winds to ensure operational safety during high-impact weather.

WindTracer works by sending out pulses of eye-safe infrared laser light that reflect off of naturally occurring aerosol particles in the atmosphere. Wind moves these particles which alters the frequency of the light that is scattered back to the system. By properly processing the return signal, the system is able to detect the wind speed and direction. The data from WindTracer is vital during dangerous weather conditions and is used to prevent wind shear-related accidents.

The TMD is charged with gathering and reporting weather data and forecasts in Thailand. The four service bureaus of TMD provide weather and monitoring services to aviation and transportation authorities. TMD falls under the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology. It was established in 1923 as Thailand’s meteorological and statistical organization.

WindTracer systems have been used worldwide for a decade to detect hazardous winds and aircraft wakes, providing improved flight safety for more than one million flights. Since the initial deployment in 2002, WindTracer successfully operates at Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka, London, New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas airports, and continues to be the lidar sensor of choice for numerous airport weather upgrade programmes.


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