Bagram Bird Radar Up and Running

Air traffic controllers at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, are now using a system called Merlin to help aircraft operating from the base avoid birds during takeoff and landing. Merlin is an all-weather, portable S-band radar system that is able to scan the skies around the base for miles. “We are giving the pilots and the ground crews a little more atmospheric awareness, and that is important,” said Ron Merritt, president of DeTect, the company that produces the radar. Bagram is the first air hub in a combat zone to use Merlin, and it has had the highest bird-strike rate of all USAF bases in the region. Merlin’s data are fed into a computer system that calculates the height and distance of any birds in the area. This allows controllers to notify aircrews of potentially deadly hazards. (Bagram report by SSgt. Richard Williams)