The US Navy's Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I) has announced the start of its government acceptance test (GAT) on a vital meteorological system.
Known as the Meteorological Mobile Facility (Replacement) Next Generation (METMF(R) NEXGEN), the system enables fighters to assess weather information before making tactical warfare decisions.
It provides the necessary meteorological information at the level of accuracy required by military personnel before launching an operation.
The new METMF(R) NEXGEN system is equipped with a set of tactical weather sensors that can detect and assess various weather conditions that affect troop movements both on the ground and in the air.
Compared to its predecessor, METMF(R), the new system is smaller in size, with smaller configurations, and can now fit into a single Humvee-based shelter, previously requiring five Conex vans.
US Marine Corps Major Jack Morgan said: "The primary differences between our previous system, METMF(R) and the METMF(R) NEXGEN have to do with mobility, scalability, ease of setup, size and it's first in self-power capability.
"Both the new and old systems offer a unique capability in otherwise data-sparse areas by providing organic weather satellite, Doppler weather radar, upper air sensing and remote and local weather observation collection capabilities."
Following the successful completion of the GAT process, the system will be shipped to the US Marine Corps (USMC) Reserves on-board Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, Texas.
The deployment is expected to happen in the second quarter of fiscal 2016.
So far, ten fielded systems have provided time-sensitive battlespace awareness to the USMC during multiple operational missions, including the Global War on Terrorism.
Previous versions of the meteorological system were deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and in Afghanistan, and the upgraded NEXGEN system is seeing use in Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force operations in Kuwait.
The system, apart from being deployed in the warzone, has also seen use in humanitarian assistance / disaster relief, such as the 2011 Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear disaster, the Philippines' devastating Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, and the earthquake that hit Tibet in April 2015.