ARL scientists assist the Army and Marines to retain artillery met capability

April 18, 2013

Story Highlights

  • ARL/CISD's Battlefield Environment Division (BED) evaluated and verified the capability of the Army's Profiler systems
  • Profiler provides U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps field artillery units with critical meteorological information to increase first round hits, conserve ammunition, achieve surprise and reduce the chances for fratricide and collateral damage
  • Teamwork enabled Profiler to continue to provide the Army and Marines with essential meteorological information for fire control systems such as the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) using the new Global Forecast System (GFS) data

The Product Manager, Meteorological and Target Identification Capabilities (PM-MaTIC) requested the U.S. Army Research Laboratory evaluate and verify the capability of the Army's Profiler system.

Dr. Jim Cogan, Dr. Pat Haines and Jeff Swanson of the Battlefield Environment Division (BED) within ARL's Computational and Information Sciences Directorate conducted the evaluation for the product manager.

Profiler provides U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps field artillery units with critical meteorological information to increase first round hits, conserve ammunition, achieve surprise and reduce the chances for fratricide and collateral damage.

Two versions of the Profiler currently exist; the Meteorological Measuring Set – Profiler (MMS-P) in use by Army units and the Computer, Meteorological Data – Profiler (CMD-P) in use by both Army and Marine Corps. Both systems rely on the Meteorological Model Fifth Generation (MM5), to provide gridded meteorological data that in turn are used to generate meteorological messages for the field artillery.

The Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) transmits large scale global or regional model output to both versions via the Global Broadcast System, which is used to initialize the on board MM5. Those systems were designed to use the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) for initialization which was relayed to the field via the AFWA.

In early 2012, the U.S. Navy notified the Army that the NOGAPS would be discontinued in favor of their new model, the Navy Global Environmental Model. In the search for an alternative, the Air Force proposed providing the Global Forecast System (GFS) data as a replacement for the Navy's system.

PM MaTIC looked to ARL to provide the assurances that the change to the input data would not affect the ability of Army and Marine field artillery units to provide the crucial meteorological information necessary for ballistic firing corrections. The PM initiated a program last summer with ARL to modify, test and analyze the software. ARL performed an evaluation of the accuracy of the output from both systems using the GFS for initialization as compared to using the NOGAPS.

ARL delivered technical reports on the accuracy of both versions of Profiler to the PM in January and February respectively. Based on these report, the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) and PM-MaTIC concurred that the MMS-P and CMD-P using the GFS for initialization meets their accuracy criteria. The Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System went offline on 13 March.

"The efforts of personnel from ARL, PM-MaTIC, ATEC, the Marine Corps System Command, Fort Sill, and the CMD-P contractor, CGI, working as a team enabled Profiler to continue to provide the Army and Marines with essential meteorological information for fire control systems such as the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System using the new GFS data," said Lt. Col. Michael Parodi, PM MaTIC.

ARL continues to provide essential expertise and analysis for short and longer term multi-service needs in artillery meteorology and related areas as well as for the design of the follow on future Profiler Virtual Module (PVM).

The PVM consists of a software package using the latest community mesoscale model, the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model. ARL continues as the primary source for artillery meteorological expertise for the Army and Marines.

 

Last Update / Reviewed: April 18, 2013