Next-Generation Marine Atmosphere Observing Instrumentation
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-195
Topic Title: Next-Generation Marine Atmosphere Observing Instrumentation
Proposal No.: N082-195-0318
Firm: Yankee Environmental Systems, Inc.
101 Industrial Blvd.
Turners Falls, Massachusetts 01376-1611
Contact: Mark Beaubien
Phone: (413) 863-0200
Web Site:
Abstract: The need for atmospheric pressure, temperature and wind (PTU+wind) vertical profile data over the data sparse open ocean remains a significant problem. Ship-based upper air stations provide synoptic observations but also act as homing beacons for the fleet. Few air-deployed dropsondes are deployed-usually only in hurricanes by specially-equipped WP3 and C-130 aircraft. Future advances in the accuracy and capability of Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models, particularly in littoral regions near large population centers, hinge heavily upon accurate initial condition data. This data can ideally be provided by in-situ dropsonde observations. What is needed is a low cost and reliable mechanism to enable more routine at-sea soundings. We propose to develop a highly rugged dropsonde technology that is mechanically-compatible with the thousands of ALE-47 electronic countermeasure dispensers widely deployed across multiple DoD manned and unmanned aerial vehicles. The miniature dropsondes will be preloaded into one or more ALE chambers and automatically activate upon release. While in flight, the dropsonde will telemeter PTU, GPS winds, and sea surface temperature to low earth-orbiting data satellites. Near real time data will feed sounding data to the Fleet Numerical Prediction center's NPW models. We call this concept the "Automated Dropsonde Atmospheric Measurement System" (ADAMS).
Benefits: The technology should reduce the cost of routine soundings and potentially increase the spatial and temporal sampling frequency, improving NWP model accuracy. Dropsondes compatible with existing electronic countermeasure dispensers would significantly leverage the government's substantial investment of thousands of ALE-47/39 dispensers in operation across the fleet. Assuming they are deployed at stand off distances, dropsondes would eliminate the need for expensive ship-based soundings, and in turn eliminate narrow band RF signals near the release ship. Using dispensers will avoid certification costs vs. a new dispenser.