Profiler meteorological system aligns with Army’s fire support

By June 24, 2015September 5th, 2018Acquisition
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By Kathryn Bailey, staff writer, Project Manager Mission Command

ABERDEEN, Md. (June 22, 2015) – A quick check of the day’s weather forecast helps people decide if they should grab a jacket or umbrella before heading out for the day. However, temperature and precipitation predictions are just two of the weather elements that military fire support personnel must check to ensure they conduct an accurate fires mission.

“Most people are not concerned if rain only falls into the upper atmosphere or if the wind or humidity shifts slightly throughout the day,” said Michael Strauss, an assistant product manager for Fire Support Command and Control (FSC2), assigned to Project Manager Mission Command (PM MC). “However, when planning a strike, even these minor weather changes can adversely affect the munitions’ trajectory.”

To gather this critical meteorological data, the Army uses the Profiler weather system, the management of which recently transitioned into Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications – Tactical’s FSC2 portfolio. Profiler transmits a computerized meteorological message to FSC2’s Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS), the Army’s comprehensive fires planning system that processes, analyzes and exchanges combat information with other systems to plan, coordinate and execute fires and effects. AFATDS uses this data to calculate a safe and effective launch window for artillery and rocket fires.

“Having both programs managed in the same office will allow us to align architectures and program schedules across these critical warfighter services,” said Julie Ruhnke, product director for FSC2.

The Profiler receives weather data provided by the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency in two ways: via satellite using the PM Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Global Broadcast Service to provide updates during operations, or, for those with approved access, through the Internet by downloading the Global Forecast System (GFS) weather data to a compact disk and uploading it to Profiler. From there, Profiler’s Weather Research Forecast modeling software produces meteorological (MET) data that AFATDS uses to compute accurate firing indicators for field artillery cannon and rocket munitions.

“The MET data produced by Profiler provides enough accuracy for fire support operations up to 72 hours, in any theater, without updating the GFS data,” Strauss said.

Profiler transitioned to PdD FSC2 from PdD Aerostats, a PM Terrestrial Sensors program assigned to the Program Executive Office for Intelligence Electronic Warfare and Sensors, following a two-year effort to align fire support products under one program office.

In the future, AFATDS operators will access Profiler information through web-based apps as part of the Army’s Command Post Computing Environment initiative.

“Not everyone in the command post is provisioned with AFATDS or Profiler,” Strauss said. “By shifting our capabilities from stand-alone systems to apps, additional Soldiers will obtain a more holistic picture of the critical fires missions they are all supporting.”

meteorological data

Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Martin, standing left, Brigade Noncommissioned Officer, Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, reviews critical meteorological data with his staff using the Army’s Profiler system during the Mission Command System Integration Team/Mission Command System Exercise held at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, in May. (Photo by Kathy Bailey, PM MC)

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