C-130 Hercules News

Upgraded Lockheed Martin WC-130J 'weatherbirds' improves hurricane hunting

May 10, 2007 (by Lockheed Martin) - Lockheed Martin is in the process of installing a new system on WC-130J ‘Hurricane Hunter' aircraft that will greatly enhance the accuracy of data collected during storm tracking missions.

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The upgraded WC-130J 97-5306 was received by Brig. Gen. Richard R. Moss, commander of the 403rd Wing, AFRC, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi shown here inspecting the aircraft with Lockheed Martin's WC-130J Weatherbird Program Manager Don Bailey. [Lockheed Martin photo]

The new system, called a Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR), will accurately measure wind speed and rainfall at sea level, enabling more precise forecasting of the severity and direction of storms.

Currently the National Hurricane Center (NHC) uses a mathematical formula to create estimates of surface winds. With the new SFMR system, surface winds will be accurately measured.

"The WC-130J SFMR-equipped aircraft will provide the NHC with a higher level of confidence in how fast the wind is blowing at the surface of the water, thereby enhancing the ability to issue more accurate watches and warnings," said Lt. Col. Roy Deatherage of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. "The NHC is very excited about this new system because it will provide uninterrupted surface wind data throughout the entire mission."

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