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SFMR Operational Transition Meeting
Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference
Jacksonville, FL

Wednesday, 9 March, 2005


  • Louanne Powell, AFRC/XP, Atlanta, GA

  • Brig Gen Richard Moss, Commander, 403rd Wing (AFRC), Keesler AFB, MS

  • Lt  Col John Talbot, 53rd WRS (AFRC), Keesler AFB, MS

  • Lt Col Steve Renwick, 53rd WRS (AFRC), Keesler AFB, MS

  • Col Mark Weadon, USAF liaison to NOAA, Washington, DC

  • Dr. Frank Marks, Director, NOAA/HRD, Miami, FL

  • Dr. Peter Black, NOAA/HRD, Miami, FL

  • Eric Uhlhorn, NOAA/HRD, Miami, FL

  • Michael Black, NOAA/HRD, Miami, FL

  • Max Mayfield, Director, NOAA/NWS/NHC, Miami, FL

  • Ed Rappaport, Deputy Director, NOAA/NWS/NHC, Miami, FL

  • James Franklin, NOAA/NWS/NHC, Miami, FL

  • Capt Steve Kozak, Director, NOAA/OMAO/AOC, MacDill AFB, FL

  • Dr. James McFadden, NOAA/OMAO/AOC, MacDill AFB, FL

  • Alan Goldstein, NOAA/OMAO/AOC, MacDill AFB, FL

  • Jim DuGranrut, Deputy Director, NOAA/OMAO/AOC, MacDill AFB, FL

  • Jack Parrish, NOAA/OMAO/AOC, MacDill AFB, FL

  • Dr. Paul Chang, NOAA/NESDIS/ORA, Camp Springs, MD

  • Scott Kiser, NOAA/NWS HQ, Silver Spring, MD

A meeting on operational SFMR status was convened on Wed, 9 March at 5 pm for about an hour during the Interdepartmental Hurricane Conference in Jacksonville, FL. The purpose of the meeting was to outline the status of the operational SFMR systems for hurricane surface wind measurement within NOAA and AFRC. The goal was to bring together representatives of government agencies responsible for utilizing and implementing the SFMR as a new operational tool for use in hurricane surface wind determination. The intent was twofold: 1) to review the status of the SFMR instrumentation systems inaugurated during the 2004 hurricane season on the NOAA WP-3D aircraft and 2) to review the current status of planning for transitioning this technology from the NOAA aircraft to the newly-certified AFRC WC-130J aircraft.

Louanne Powell opened the discussion with a report on the status of the $10.5M DOD supplemental allocation from the U.S. Congress for the purchase and installation of SFMR systems on the WC-130J aircraft by Lockheed-Martin. She indicated that the funds should be available to AFRC within a month. If this timetable is followed, the procurement process should begin by August, 2005. A technical interchange meeting will need to be held prior to this time at which user groups define the operational SFMR deliverables for Lockheed. The funds will be available for 3 years.

Col Mark Weadon  indicated that a Congressional briefing was held on March 17 between USAF and Congressional representatives. Mark emphasized that NOAA Deputy Under-Secretary Jack Kelly will oversee a plan to ensure close cooperation between USAF and NOAA representatives to achieve transition of the SFMR from NOAA to AFRC aircraft with clearly defined deliverables,  tasks and schedules along the lines of the straw-man plan drawn up during the NOAA Hurricane conference at NHC in December, 2004.

Support for this transition process has been provided by Congress with the $300K DOC SFMR supplemental. A draft work plan for this process was outlined during the NOAA Hurricane Conference whereby deliverables, tasks and schedules were defined. This task is designed to evaluate the new AOC operational SFMR and to insure implementation of new calibration and operating procedures. Col Mark Wheadon will apprise DUS Kelly of the progress of this plan.

AFRC representatives indicated that the procurement process needs to include resources for the purchase of SFMR spares that would allow rapid swap-out in the field of any failed component.

With this timetable, initial SFMR systems should be delivered to AFRC in time for the 2006 hurricane season.

Based on the timetable indicated above, it was clear that ongoing SFMR validation efforts from the 2004 WP-3D data need to be completed early in the 2005 hurricane season in order to help define the enhancements to the existing AOC SFMR design that are required to integrate the processing algorithm into the SFMR pod-mounted package. This is required to integrate instrument measurements with on board processing in the same package. Currently, on board processing of SFMR data is done on the aircraft computer separate from the SFMR instrument.

Ms Powell emphasized that the user group needs to clearly define to USAF procurement officials the item being purchased and what it does. If the sensor is not clearly defined, the whole integration effort is at risk. Concerning the operational SFMR, no further distinction need be made between the raw radiance output of the SFMR and the derived winds and rain rates. These distinctions were made in the research phase of the SFMR development. However, in the AFRC operational phase, the SFMR is an integrated system that measures winds and rainfall directly. The ongoing SFMR validation effort supported by the DOC Congressional Supplemental has identified the steps that need to be defined to migrate the existing operational SFMR on the WP-3D from its present form (where derived quantities are computed with the aircraft computer system) to  the AFRC system where an internal processor will provide direct output of wind speed and rain rate.

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Last modified: 4/14/2005

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