Flight International online news 12:00GMT: UAV manufacturer Aerosonde has been awarded a contract worth almost US$700,00 by the US Air Force to undertake trials to meet weather reconnaissance requirements for tropical storms as well as military targeting and training.
According to the USAF, the weather reconnaissance data is expected to greatly enhance weather situational awareness in remote areas.
It should also improve predictive battle space awareness via inputs to weather forecast models, and lead to more accurate tropical cyclone and weapon system performance forecasts.
Scheduled to commence later this month, the initial trials will be at Aerosonde's North American operations site at the NASA Wallops Island facility in Virginia, followed by further trials in an operational environment from Guam in the Western Pacific.
The trials will evaluate weather sensors and aircraft performance and will assess the Aerosonde's ability to improve forecast accuracy by disseminating observations into numerical weather model databases.
The current Mk 3 Aerosonde has the capability to undertake overnight missions, allowing extended monitoring of weather events. Data can be provided in near real-time to weather authorities by worldwide satellite communications.
Source: Flight International