Birdstrikes pose a significant safety hazard to aviation and, according to government studies, cost military and commercial aviation over $2 billion each year due to aircraft loss and damage, out-of-service delays and lost lives.
DeTect’s MERLIN Aircraft Birdstrike Avoidance Radar system is the first production model and most advanced, proven and widely used bird radar technology available for bird-aircraft strike hazard (BASH) management and for real-time detection, tracking and alerting of hazardous bird activity at commercial airports, military airfields, and military training and bombing ranges. The MERLIN bird radar is proven, production model technology with over 100 bird radar systems currently operating at sites worldwide in aviation safety and environmental applications. MERLIN has a well documented record in reducing bird strikes, increasing safety and reducing aircraft damage and delay cost at both military and commercial airfields. MERLIN is the most widely used bird radar system in the world and is the only production-model bird radar in operational use for real-time, tactical bird-aircraft strike avoidance at commercial airports and military airfields. MERLIN is also only bird radar system to have been evaluated and certified for real-time, tactical flight safety use by the US government (includes NASA and the USAF certification) and is the only bird radar approved for and in use at a commercial airport control tower under national standards.
The MERLIN technology includes a wide range of unique features and benefits not available with any other bird radar system:
- Operational, production-model technology
- Real-time display of bird activity with high update rates
- Precise, tactical, automated bird-aircraft strike risk alerts to controllers & pilots
- Mobile display capabilities for airfield bird control units
- Detects birds from ground level to above aircraft operational altitudes
- State-of-the-art solid state, X- and S-band Doppler radar technology
- All weather bird detection in fog, rain and snow
- Military-grade bird detection tracking algorithms, clutter suppression & insect filtering
- Bird radar software developed specifically for detection & tracking of hazardous bird targets
- Simultaneous multi-range operation to support both bird control & ATC
- Automatic daily report generation engine
- Complete installation design, installation, commissioning & long-term support
- Full 3-year parts & labor warranty & performance guarantees
- Proven technology tested, validated & operationally used by commercial airports, the US Air Force, Navy & NASA
With MERLIN, users get more than just a radar - each MERLIN system is supported by DeTect's experts in military and commercial aviation safety, air traffic control, airfield management, airfield bird control and radar remote sensing to provide a cost-effective system that integrates seamlessly and effectively into airfield or airport operations.
The MERLIN bird radar operating software was specifically developed to detect and track bird targets. Other bird radars used modified ship or aircraft tracking software which are not designed to identify and track the unique flight signature and RCS variability characteristics of birds in flight. The MERLIN system also processes and displays the only hazardous bird targets and tracks and current strike risk in real-time with the fastest scan update rate available on the market.
The standard MERLIN system uses a dual vertical and horizontal scanning radar configuration to provide simultaneous 3D coverage with dedicated scanning of runways and approach and departure corridors from the ground level up to 15,000 ft AGL and 360 degrees around the airfield out to 12+ miles. A key feature of MERLIN is its wide-beam coverage that detects and provides real-time alerts of hazardous bird activity from aircraft flight operational altitudes to the ground level for tactical bird-aircraft strike risk avoidance. With MERLIN's military grade clutter suppression the system provides continuous bird detection from the ground level and up to and above flight altitudes (85% of damaging and Multiple MERLIN sesnors are installed in a fixed sesnor package network for large, multi-runway airports to provide complete 3D airspace surveillancehazardous birdstrikes at commercial airports occur below 500 feet during aircraft take-offs and landings).
MERLIN systems are available in mobile and fixed installation configurations. For large, multi-runway airports and airfields, multiple fixed-mount sensor packages are installed around the airfield and networked to provide optimal coverage of the airfield and the area around the airport (out to 8 miles) with dedicated scanning of each runway and runway approach and departure corridors to provide continuous risk alerting and to deliver real-time information as to where risk conditions exist.
Commercial airport installations can be delivered as fixed radar packages with frangible radar towers and electronics installed in compact, outdoor-rated, environmentally controlled NEMA enclosures. Power and network infrastructure is minimal and all components are fully remote controllable at system remote display user sites. MERLIN is scalable and expandable which allows users to install a base system initially, adding additional sensor coverages as budgets allow. All components are industrial grade with high reliability and low maintenance costs.
In MERLIN, hazardous bird target positional information is delivered in real time to multiple local and remote users simultaneous in operationally usable formats with user-selectable display options that include color-coded symbols, unique identifiers for birds and aircraft, target trails and target tags with a range of attribute display options. DeTect's unique MERLIN Advisor risk alerting software continuously monitors bird activity in the runway approach and departure corridors and around the airfield automatically determining the current birdstrike risk for each corridor with the risk displayed onto the screen in color-coded text (as LOW, MODERATE, or SEVERE risk levels) and risk condition color options (GREEN, YELLOW, RED) that can be interpreted and used in the high tempo environment in control towers. Tower controllers, airfield managers and bird control staff are automatically alerted to real-time and expected changes in the risk condition by user-selectable, visual, audible and text message warning options.
MERLIN Advisor is the only proven and operationally used automated bird strike risk monitoring and alerting system available on the market and represents the state-of-the-art in real time birdstrike risk management for commercial airports and military airfields. All target data attributes are also continuously written to the MERLIN SQL database system for playback, archiving and analysis with the Data Analyzer software that includes standard 'point-and-click' queries. The integrated MERLIN Reporter feature automatically generates a set of custom or standard BASH management reports and emails them to users at the end of each 24 hour period. Data are also exportable to a GIS for integration into customer resource and planning databases. MERLIN additionally includes an optional incident recorder module that retains 48-72 hours of full radar data to support event and mishap investigations.
- Automated real-time monitoring, warning and alerting of birdstrike risk
- User-selectable visual, audible and messaging risk alert options
- Detection and tracking software developed specifically for birds & aviation safety
- Developed and supported by top BASH and aviation safety experts
- Proven in airport, military airfield and training range installations worldwide
- Fully remote viewable and controllable through LAN, WAN, Internet & wireless
- Wide range of standard & custom functions & features
- Used by the US Air Force, NASA and major airports for real-time, tactical bird detection
MERLIN uses state-of-the-art solid-state S-band radar sensors with Doppler processing providing all weather detection and tracking of birds even in fog, rain and snow. The solid-state radars in MERLIN have been engineered and manufactured specifically for bird detection and offer greater sensitivity than traditional magnetron-based bird radar systems which are susceptible to false positives from insect contamination and are “blind” in wet fog or even light rain. Low visibility conditions such as wet fog and rain represent one of the highest risk period to aircraft as bird control units, controllers and pilots cannot “see” the birds and the birds cannot “see and avoid” the aircraft.
MERLIN is a fully integrated and engineered system that is manufactured by DeTect in its own factory and includes temperature and humidity controlled field technician equipment consoles/enclosures, radar data processors and software, radar towers, and military/AOA airfield lighting and marking. Mobile MERLIN systems are fully mission deployable via ground, ship or air transport for forward-base use and are air transport certified (USAF ATTLA). With the optional secondary surveillance radar (SSR) and multi-function HARRIER and DroneWatcher options, the MERLIN system can support military theater operations delivering simultaneous, real-time birdstrike risk management, drone and small UAV detection, and/or airspace and perimeter surveillance and intrusion alerting, all from a single, compact fully mobile, hardened and self-contained platform.
MERLIN is backed by the most experienced team of bird radar experts in the world. With MERLIN, users are getting more than an aircraft birdstrike avoidance radar system. DeTect provides comprehensive application support with each system delivery that includes custom engineering, turnkey installation, full concept-of-operations (CONOPS) development, system integration and site-specific operation training and long-term support. Each system is supported by DeTect’s team of application specialists who have extensive backgrounds and experience in radar systems, BASH management and airfield operations. Staff resources supporting each MERLIN deployment include a former Chief of the US Air Force BASH Team, a former Head of US Air Force Europe Bird Control, FAA Qualified Biologists, NTSB Trained Mishap Investigators, former USDA Airfield Wildlife Control Officers, and noted international experts in radar ornithology and BASH with experience gained on projects at over 300 airports and airfields worldwide. DeTect’s expert staff have been responsible for virtually every major development in bird radar technology for the past 30 years that includes the following bird radar industry “Firsts”:
- Permanent bird radar system installation at a western European airport (2012)
- Advanced user customizable infinite birdstrike risk zone alerting (2011)
- Bird radar system with Doppler processing (2010)
- Dynamic Trending functionality in automated birdstrike risk warning system (2009)
- Active war zone deployment of a tactical bird strike radar (Afghanistan, 2009)
- Custom bird radar ‘Bird Mode’ waveform & antenna (2009)
- All weather solid-state bird radar system (2009)
- Birdstrike risk alerts to a commercial airport tower (2008, Durban IAP, S. Africa)
- Automated birdstrike risk alerting bird radar (2006, USAF, Dover AFB)
- Bird radar system at commercial airport (2003, Augusta Regional Airport, Georgia)
- On-airfield bird detection radar (2003, Royal Air Force Base, Kinloss Scotland)
- Biological target detection algorithm for radar (2001)
- Automatic vertical scanning radar for bird detection (2000)
- National bird strike risk radar network (1999, AHAS, www.usahas.com, USAF)
- Base-level Bird Avoidance Model (1997, USAF)
- Computer-based birdstrike risk mission planning model (1996, USAF)
- Year-round remote sensing studies of bird activity (1995, USAF)
MERLIN systems are available for sale, long-term lease or short-term rental, with or without DeTect operators and are backed by a full parts and labor warranty that covers the complete system. Since 2003, over 180 MERLIN bird radar systems have logged over 5 million hours of operating time with an established record of high system uptime, high reliability and low maintenance and repair costs.