STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (NNS) -- On May 31, the day before the start of Hurricane Season, Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (COMNAVMETOCCOM) and Oceanographer of the Navy Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet joined the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron "Hurricane Hunters" Super Hercules aircrew aboard a WC-130J to deploy dropsondes at pre-coordinated points in the Gulf of Mexico in support of Naval Oceanography Unmanned Systems Operational Demonstration.
"Partnering with the Air Force for the demonstration was really the perfect marriage because we both work continually to understand the constantly changing atmosphere," said Rear Adm. Gallaudet. "It is the mission of Task Force Ocean to ensure that the U.S. Navy maintains a competitive advantage in our ability to exploit the ocean environment as well, and our close partnership with the Air Force ensures we do just that."
On April 12, the Hurricane Hunters dropped two profiling floats to measure conductivity, temperature and depth and three surface drifter buoys to measure ocean currents in the Gulf of Mexico. These unmanned systems continuously collect data that is communicated to the Naval Oceanographic Office, who then processes it into ocean and atmospheric models that run on supercomputers at the Navy DoD Supercomputing Resource Center.
Lt. Col. Kaitlyn Woods said, "The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron was thrilled to be asked to participate in this naval demonstration. This joint training opportunity has reinforced that the data we provide ensures the Navy has a better picture of how environmental factors can impact the Navy fleet and their operations."
During the operational demonstration, the 53rd WRS flew one and a half hour sorties each day and released up to 10 dropsondes. Atmospheric profiles including temperature, pressure and humidity, atmospheric and surface winds will be ingested into Navy models for more accurate sonar range predictions while conducting anti-submarine warfare or measuring the evaporative duct height that impacts propagation of electromagnetic signals,
"I was stationed in south Mississippi when Hurricane Katrina hit, and like so many other locals my family lost everything. It was truly an honor to fly with these brave men and women and see what they do to help our local community and other areas in the world during some of the scariest times," said Rear Adm. Gallaudet.
Hosted by COMNAVMETOCCOM, the Gulf of Mexico Unmanned Systems Operational Demonstration provides an opportunity for U.S. Navy, academia and industry to demonstrate existing unmanned capabilities, showcase local infrastructure and explore collaborative opportunities in support of national defense.
COMNAVMETOCCOM directs and oversees more than 2,500 globally-distributed military and civilian personnel who collect, process and exploit environmental information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders in all warfare areas to make better decisions faster than the adversary.
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