A new wind detection system installed at Tokyo International Airport will provide air traffic control personnel with improved monitoring of wind activity and advanced warning of hazards such as low-level wind shear. The WindTracer system developed by Lockheed Martin is a Doppler LiDAR (light detection and ranging) system that provides high-resolution wind data and mapping at a range of up to six nautical miles.

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The system scans uses invisible infrared lasers to monitor the entire field along the glide slope, identifying and tracking dangerous weather conditions. The system is particularly effective at providing accurate wind data in clear air conditions and the lasers are completely safe to human eye, meeting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements for laser operation in the airport terminal area.

WindTracer is suitable for homeland security and meteorological research as well as airport applications. "We collaborated with the Kanematsu Corporation of Japan to introduce WindTracer to the Japan Meteorological Agency," said Dr. Stephen Hannon, Products Group director for Lockheed Martin Coherent Technologies. "We’re proud to work with Haneda Airport to improve its wind hazard detection and increase air safety. Lidar is quickly being recognized by the aviation community as a proven technology that significantly enhances the ability to detect and alert air traffic controllers to such meteorological events as wind shear, dry microbursts, gust fronts, turbulence and crosswinds."

Tokyo International Airport (known as Haneda Airport) is one of the main airports serving the greater Tokyo area, ranking fourth among the world’s largest passenger airports and is the busiest airport in Asia, handling 65.3 million passengers in 2006.

LiDAR (light detection and ranging) systems have also brought recent improvements to the selection of Windfarm sites.

via Gizmag