Nextgen weather system provides Marines with tactical meteorological support

Nextgen weather system provides Marines with tactical meteorological support

by Sgt. Anthony J. Kirby, III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office
U.S. Marine Corps

CAMP MUJUK, Republic of Korea -- After being in the fleet operating forces for approximately one year, the meteorological mobile facility replacement next generation system finally hit full operational status March 25 at Camp Mujuk in the Republic of Korea.

Marine Air Control Squadron 4 Marines assembled the meteorological mobile facility replacement next generation system to support exercises in Korea, including Marine Expeditionary Force Exercise 2014 and Ssang Yong 2014, both designed to enhance interoperability and expeditionary amphibious operations.

The biggest change with the new system is the humvee and trailer design, making it more expeditionary. The older system, which was contained in a conex box, required heavy equipment cranes to move.

“This system is much more convenient because we don’t have to rely on outside support to move it, which would normally be a full day process at the least,” said Sgt. Alexis M. Whitaker, an aviation meteorological equipment technician with MACS 4, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “It’s going to save the Marine Corps man hours and money.”

The forecasters’ key role is letting units in the area know about upcoming weather conditions that could affect their livelihood or scheduled missions. Predicating meteorological conditions allows commands to use this information to take proper actions such as securing tents, bringing down antennas, or planning for weather effects on operations.

The detachment is comprised of forecaster, technician, motor transportation, communication and utilities occupational specialty Marines. All working together to ensure Marines on the ground and in the air have up-to-date relevant information in their geographical region.

“We’re able to provide safety of flight for the aircraft wing units here and radar coverage to the South-Eastern side of the peninsula using this system,” said Warrant Officer Andres A. Madera, officer in charge for Air Traffic Control Detachment A, MACS 4.

The meteorological mobile facility replacement next generation system is a hub used to collect and disseminate information that both the operating forces and other forecasters around the theater of operations can use, according to Madera.

The system uses a mesoscale meteorological model to assimilate data from a variety of sources. It ingests meteorological data from both ground-based sensors and satellites. The new system has rapidly deployable sensor suites with stand-alone capability, which allows its users to utilize only what they need vice unpacking and setting up the entire system.

“The new system allows us to be self-reliant and more proficient to give better reports to our supporting units,” said Whitaker. “It definitely enhances the meteorological capabilities of the Marine Corps.”

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