India eyes C-130J for cyclone hunter role

Singapore
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India could obtain a Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules aircraft to help it better forecast and monitor tropical cyclones.

Following a recommendation by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) that an airborne cyclone-monitoring capability be established, India is taking steps to acquire a C-130J for this role, said the government of India in a statement.

The NDMA said an airborne capability would help India better predict where cyclones are likely to make landfall. The statement added that the government is also looking to obtain an unmanned aerial vehicle for this mission, though it did not specify a type.

In the US Air Force (USAF) service, the WC-130J variant of the Hercules performs this role.

"The aircraft penetrates tropical disturbances and storms, hurricanes and winter storms to obtain data on movement, size and intensity," said the USAF on its website.

"The WC-130J is the weather data collection platform for the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron located at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi," it added.

The Indian Air Force operates six C-130J aircraft and is in talks to obtain six more. It is unclear whether a WC-130J variant would be included in this order or as a separate acquisition.