HomeNewsArticle Display

Hurricane Hunters upgrade ARWO software

Senior Airman Warren Reynier, 403rd Maintenance Squadron meteorology technician, works on the internal wiring of the aerial reconnaissance weather officer station at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., May 12, 2021. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters’” ARWO and loadmaster/dropsonde operator stations are being upgraded with hardware and software to increase their weather collecting capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Christopher Carranza)

Senior Airman Warren Reynier, 403rd Maintenance Squadron meteorology technician, works on the internal wiring of the aerial reconnaissance weather officer station at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., May 12, 2021. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters’” ARWO and loadmaster/dropsonde operator stations are being upgraded with hardware and software to increase their weather collecting capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Christopher Carranza)

Master Sgt. Robert Ramos, 403rd Maintenance Squadron avionics flight chief, operates the forklift loading an aerial weather officer station onto a WC-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., May 13, 2021 The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, “Hurricane Hunters,” ARWO and loadmaster/dropsonde operator stations are being upgraded with hardware and software to increase their weather collecting capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Christopher Carranza)

Master Sgt. Robert Ramos, 403rd Maintenance Squadron avionics flight chief, operates the forklift loading an aerial weather officer station onto a WC-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., May 13, 2021. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, “Hurricane Hunters,” ARWO and loadmaster/dropsonde operator stations are being upgraded with hardware and software to increase their weather collecting capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Christopher Carranza)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) --

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters” aerial reconnaissance weather officer and loadmaster/dropsonde operator stations are being upgraded with hardware and software to increase their weather collecting capabilities.

“The (Meteorology Equipment Technician) shop is in the middle of a system upgrade, specifically on the ARWO station,” said Maj. Tobi Baker, 53rd WRS ARWO. “It’s a major overhaul because the hardware and software that we use is specialized and a lot of the programs and components are made in-house.”

The Hurricane Hunters are the only Department of Defense unit that flies into storm environments to gather atmospheric data with the use of instruments in and outside of their weather specialized WC-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

With such a specialized mission, there is a specialized shop of Reserve Airmen from the 403rd Maintenance Squadron that maintain the hurricane hunting equipment, and they are the meteorology equipment technicians.

“This upgrade on the ARWO pallet and in regards to the hardware, software and development, to include replacing the monitors to keep up with the new information and data processing, are vital to keeping us up-to-date with the weather community,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Gehl, 403rd MXS meteorology technician. “We work hand-in-hand with engineers and developers from the 580th (Software Engineering Squadron) and (Air Force Reserve Command) for testing and developing any of the equipment that the weather community requests.”

Gehl said that about 75% of the work is in the shop dealing with aircraft engineers, upgrading and repairing components, and visiting the National Hurricane Center for preventative maintenance on ground equipment as well as at any forward deployed ground stations.

One of the primary upgrades being implemented is the computer operating system, which is going from Windows XP to Windows 10.

“To give you a sense of time, the computers on the ARWO pallet were brand new in 2005 and now they’re all being updated to the current technology,” said Master Sgt. Alexander Mitchell, 403rd MXS MET noncommissioned officer in charge. “Originally we were in the middle of upgrading from XP to Windows 7, but due to Air Force’s Windows 10 compliance, it delayed us in testing and implementing that software and hardware in 2018.”

The 15 year gap in technological difference restarted the upgrade process because the specialized weather software had to be rewritten for the new operating system, Mitchell said.

“Our maintainers have to take something working from XP to 10. It’s a dynamic database that’s taking information native from the pilot instruments, sensors on the plane, while at the same time taking information from the load pallet and then transmitting the data to the NHC,” Baker said. “With these upgrades we’ll have approximately 25% increase in computer processing power, which means a more efficient flow of data that leads to better quality of data, and that will help the forecast.”

A large portion of the upgrade process has been the testing phase to ensure the components are robust enough to pass airworthiness and working out the glitches, Gehl said.

“We need reliability. You cannot take a common computer off the shelf and slap it into the aircraft because testing must be done first, in addition to a lot of the software and hardware components made in-house” Baker said. “The reason it needs to be tested is due to aircraft vibrations and the rigors of flying, such as takeoffs and landings in addition to working around the clock.”

In addition to the ARWO station the loadmaster pallet is getting its equipment updated as well to increase its tracking capabilities, the biggest being its display.

“The loadmaster pallets are also getting new (Color Multi-Display Units), which we have no more replacements for,” Mitchell said. “We’ve researched and found a suitable replacement at a cheaper cost, which has saved the Air Force approximately $1.9 million compared to using the same original brand CMDUs we used in the past.”

Baker said these upgrades are necessary to keep up with new technology and also leaves room for potentially new weather gathering radar and sensors in the future.

“This has been a team effort from our maintainers to the engineers and software developers from the Air Force Lifecycle Management Center and the 580th Software Engineering Squadron,” Baker said. “Without them, this couldn’t have been done.

The total force effort currently has the upgrade process in its final stages and the installation process for the 10 WC-130Js will begin immediately after headquarters signs off on the approval, right in time for hurricane season.

“These upgrades are extremely important because it will increase our efficiency and overall mission effectiveness,” Baker said. “Collecting weather data is like collecting puzzle pieces, the more pieces we have the better picture we can help create for the forecasters.”

Engage

Twitter
One step closer... #AirForce Officer Training School candidates complete a four-phase, nine-and-a-half week progra… https://t.co/gQNQ2IMlim
Twitter
You got this! 💪 https://t.co/WnevIeJbQ4
Twitter
Not a bad way to cool off in the summer. The 815th Airlift Squadron's Reserve #Airmen visited Alaska to airlift o… https://t.co/DElqEx4JwJ
Twitter
RT @USAFRecruiting: Built different 😤 These @airforcespecwar exercises will put your strength to the test and show you what muscles these…
Twitter
Another Air Force week complete, and we've got it in photos! View the rest here: https://t.co/OkjRFKvDjz https://t.co/HXcWkJN35U
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: On behalf of our #Airmen and families, congrats and welcome to Ms. Jones, our new Under Secretary of the @usairforce. #…
Twitter
Jumping into the weekend Tactical Air Control Party Airmen assigned to the 14th Air Support Operations Squadron pe… https://t.co/VLRxCb90mw
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Getting ready for the big leap into civilian life? #Airmen preparing to separate from active duty service can take steps towar…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary Roth on the confirmation of Gina Ortiz Jones to serve as the Under Secretary of the Air Force. ⬇️ https…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Confirmed yesterday by the Senate, Gina Ortiz Jones will be the next Under Secretary of the Air Force! Read more ⬇️ @US
Twitter
The Senate unanimously confirmed Gina Ortiz Jones to be Under Secretary of the Air Force, clearing the way for the… https://t.co/Q8SFw2fq45
Twitter
Hundreds of Airmen participated alongside @USArmy Soldiers in the inaugural Pacific Warriorz 2021 Joint and Total… https://t.co/fAPp4UGjmW
Twitter
RT @US_EUCOM: #JF21-2 is designed to test simulated emergency response procedures, ballistic missile defense & crisis response assistance i…
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Thanks to the conservation upgrades, Keesler AFB expects an annual savings of 113,840 million British Thermal Units, a 15.8 p…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: .@Spangdahlem_AB was the first wing in @HQUSAFEAFAF capable of Agile Combat Employment. Being agile & persistent is a m…
Twitter
After catastrophic flooding in Germany & Belgium, @Spangdahlem_AB volunteers provide relief. “80% of people on Sp… https://t.co/6roLIRoFT0
Twitter
RT @Southcom: Supporting our partners in #Suriname: A @usairforce C-17 from @TeamCharleston delivered a field hospital to Suriname July 1…
Twitter
Congratulatons! 🎓 https://t.co/dzK8o0E9rK
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: On the latest edition of the Air Force Starts Here Podcast, we discuss the modernization of the @usairforce Career Developm…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,354,266
Follow Us