Weather Squadron tech refresh keeps reports flowing to combatant commanders

HANSCOM Air Force Base, Mass. -- The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center here is upgrading hardware for the 14th Weather Squadron in Asheville, North Carolina, where more than 100 years of Department of Defense climate data is stored.

Airmen assigned to the squadron provide more than 1,000 tailored climate trend reports for combatant commanders and senior leaders every year. The data used to build these reports sits on hardware and software nearing the end of its service life, requiring a refresh to sustain usability and reliability for the 63 Airmen who compile reports and update logs daily. 

“We’re looking to provide the customer a completely up-to-date server and data-storage architecture,” said 2nd Lt. Cameron Rouleau, project manager at AFLCMC-Hanscom’s weather data analysis section. “When you think about how much weather impacts military operations, the criticality of these systems becomes clear. Hanscom is the place to ensure a contract like this is fulfilled on schedule and to specifications.”

The requests for proposal were released in January. AFLCMC-Hanscom expects an award announcement in the coming weeks, according to Rouleau. The selected company will upgrade the systems at a contract value of $3 million.

The weather squadron tracks climate developments, allowing decision makers to better plan military operations. The unit’s leadership is seeing increased demand for their meteorological expertise as a result of advances in the science of modeling complex systems, such as global weather patterns.

“Operations surges come and go,” said Maj. Jason Scalzitti, 14th WS director of operations. “What we’re seeing is sustained increases in the deployed commander’s need to account for local weather trends when planning missions. These products, and the hardware where we’re storing the data we use to build the products, are critical to successfully establishing air superiority in every corner of the earth.”

The weather squadron collects, processes and stores more than 2 million worldwide weather observations per day, sustaining a 4.6 terabyte historical database housing weather information dating to 1901. This is the only database of its kind within the DoD, and is used to support all military branches, the intelligence community and the Department of State's humanitarian information unit. Over the years, 14th WS products proved instrumental to aircraft basing decisions, worldwide humanitarian relief operations and Special Operations Forces planning, according to Scalzitti.

Hanscom’s Battle Management directorate works weather-related development issues on several fronts. The weather data analysis program, managing this upgrade, is part of the Weather Systems branch within Aerospace Management Systems, a Battle Management responsibility.