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Weather Scout UAV (WSUAV). Col Mark Weadon HQ USAF. Weather Scout UAV. Requirements CONOPS Foreign Comparative Testing Aerosonde UAV Test Planning Schedule/Procurement Mitigation Summary. Weather Scout UAV Requirements.

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weather scout uav wsuav

Weather Scout UAV (WSUAV)

Col Mark Weadon


weather scout uav
Weather Scout UAV
  • Requirements
  • Foreign Comparative Testing
  • Aerosonde UAV
  • Test Planning
  • Schedule/Procurement
  • Mitigation
  • Summary
weather scout uav requirements
Weather Scout UAVRequirements

Improve accuracy/resolution of weather forecasts, extend forecast valid times, & improve situation awareness

  • Tropical Cyclone and Battlefield weather reconnaissance
  • COMPACAF - Executive Agent for USPACOM Tropical Cyclone Reconnaissance (CINCPAC Inst 3140.1W)
  • Tropical Cyclone Reconnaissance and Specification Capability – HQ USAF MNS 006-97
  • Observing System-21st Century (OS-21) – HQ USAF ORD 001-94 I/II/III C
  • Mobile, directed, near real-time, low-cost, highly-automated weather sensors
weather scout uav requirements4
Weather Scout UAVRequirements
  • Reconnaissance when satellite leveraging fails
    • COMPACOM-directed WC-130 deployment After Action Report noted utility of reconnaissance
    • COMPACAF-directed inquiry into Super Typhoon Pongsana

Weather Scout UAV concept

  • Flexible, directed weather sensor suite capable of operating in data sparse and data denied areas
weather scout uav requirements5
Weather Scout UAVRequirements
  • UAV operating radius of no less than 750nm around ground station
  • Capability to sense the following meteorological parameters from the UAV's operating altitude: wind direction and speed, air temperature and humidity, and atmospheric pressure
  • Ability to take digital still images of battlefield WX conditions
  • WX data distribution to ground station < 3 minutes; images < 10 minutes
  • UAV endurance > 30 hrs
  • UAV top speed > 70 mph
  • UAV operating ceiling 20,000 ft
  • Use automatic navigation system - can be programmed, reprogrammed, changed/resumed in-flight; & ability to return to launch site automatically or ditch based on pre-programmed logic or remote instructions;
  • Operate in winds of 50 mph, up to moderate precipitation, and up to moderate turbulence; in ambient temperature (T) -30oF > T < 125oF
weather scout uav conops
Weather Scout UAVCONOPS
  • Lease UAV as a COTS data service
    • Contractor provides the C2 center, operations, maintenance, and logistics and launches/recovers the aircraft
  • Flight ops location dependent on operational prioritization—seasonal weather threats, targets
  • Data available to Navy/AF/NOAA weather systems
    • observation distribution; into METOC models
  • Data and forecast products sent to C2 systems
weather scout uav warfighter benefits
Weather Scout UAVWarfighter Benefits
  • Improved situational and predictive battlespace awareness for commanders and mission planners—all services—weather impacts mitigated
  • Improved weapons employment tactics
  • Reduced human and resource risks
    • Enhances flight safety and resource protection
weather scout uav fct program
Weather Scout UAVFCT Program
  • Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) Program
    • WSUAV is a FY05 FCT project
    • $1M Guam Congressional plus-up
    • $137K Army Corps of Engineers PILOT program
  • Aerosonde—Australia, Aerosonde Pty Ltd
    • Only UAV to meet performance requirements, and to do so within budget
weather scout uav aerosonde
Weather Scout UAVAerosonde

COTS – UAV and weather sensors

  • Range: ~1800nm
  • Altitude: up to ~20k ft
  • ~30 hours flight time
  • Pressure, Temp, RH
  • Wind dir/speed
  • GPS Navigations
  • Communications
    • UHF Radio, LEO Satellite


Wingspan ~10 ft

Engine 24cc Fuel-injected

Weight 29-33lbs

weather scout uav aerosonde10
Weather Scout UAVAerosonde
  • Lightweight and easily transportable
    • 1-person portable; folds into golf club-sized box
  • Fully autonomous, with remote command
    • Launch-and-leave
    • Flight follow
weather scout uav aerosonde11
Weather Scout UAVAerosonde
  • Data provided in World Meteorological Organization format (AMDAR)—easily integrated into existing DoD weather systems
  • Operating costs comparison
    • Aerosonde operations cost approximately 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of WC-130 operations
weather scout uav aerosonde system view

Processing& Tailoring


UHF LOS orIridium Satcom

C2 Node

Ground ControlStation

Weather Scout UAV






Product Tailoring



Numerical Fcst Center (AFWA)


Weather Scout UAV Aerosonde - System View
weather scout uav test planning
Weather Scout UAVTest Planning
  • Small UAV SPO, ASC, WPAFB – Project Lead
  • Det 1, AFOTEC, Kirtland AFB, NM –Test Lead
    • Mission suitability, sensor accuracy, forecast accuracy improvement, weather system and interoperability
    • Weather modeling/forecast data analysis: AFWA & JTWC
  • Aerosonde data collection tests/flights
    • NASA WFF (Wallops Island, VA) – Aircraft performance flights; Sep 05
    • Guam (Andersen AFB or NW Airfield) – TC recon; Oct - Nov 05
weather scout uav schedule procurement
Weather Scout UAVSchedule/Procurement
  • Schedule
    • Test Planning Sep 04 – Apr 05
    • FCT Notification Dec 04
    • Contracting Jan - Jun 05
    • Operations Testing Sep 05 – Nov 05
    • Data Analysis Nov 05 – Dec 05
    • Final Report Mar 06
  • Procurement: SPO to contract for flight hours at locations as required—lease data service
    • PACAF FY06-10 POM unfunded: ~$2.1 per year
weather scout uav summary
Weather Scout UAVSummary
  • Need to improve and extend forecasts, improve situational awareness—TC and Battlefield
  • Utilize a UAV to provide wx data reconnaissance—WSUAV CONOPS
  • Aerosonde UAV expected to meet WSUAV requirements—COTS, low-cost – FCT
  • Testing in Wallops Island & Guam: AFOTEC
  • Final report: Mar 06 – Operational funding?