Electronic Systems Center brings weather situational awareness

The Electronic Systems Center‘s Aerospace Management Systems Division Weather Programs Branch at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., are working to improve weather situational awareness for warfighters.

FalconView Weather is a net-centric, lightweight, easy-to-use capability that displays current and forecasted weather conditions for military use.

It allows personnel to visualize weather information, such as observations, forecasts, pilot reports and radar, in overlays on the Portable Flight Planning System’s FalconView mapping capability.

PFPS is a suite of software for planning air missions. The addition of FalconView Weather to the PFPS software suite provides the aviator the ability to consider weather impacts in mission planning and to adapt flight plans based on weather threats.

“FalconView Weather provides the warfighter with actionable weather information,” said Gerry Flynn, the program manager. “It allows them to avoid weather hazards, such as thunderstorms and dust, especially overseas in areas such as Southwest Asia.”

The prototype was developed by MITRE engineers working for ESC’s Battle Management Directorate in 2008, in conjunction with service members in Nevada, along with members of several Air National Guard units, Air Force Special Operations Command and the Joint Command Post in Iraq.

In February 2010, the Weather Program office received Warfighter Rapid Acquisition Program funds to operationalize the prototype, establish sustainment functions and to develop additional capabilities.

Officials said progress has been moving quickly since then.

“In just 18 months since we were notified of the WRAP funding, we selected a contractor, went on contract, operationalized the prototype in a first release, established training and 24/7 help desk support and are set to field a substantial upgrade after operational test in July 2011,” said John Dreher, the Integration and Capabilities Section chief at the Weather Program Office. “And with the upgrade, the team has been able to take advantage of emerging Air Force and Navy weather web services, which significantly reduce integration costs and schedule and has provided an order of magnitude increase in available weather products.”

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(Written for AF.Mil by Patty Welsh, 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs)