Navy fields mobile weather centers for fleets, AF users

Navy fields mobile weather centers for fleets, AF users

The Navy system can display multiple windows of weather patterns, such as these over the southern United States. It can predict weather up to 10 days in advance.

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

A 150-pound mobile weather center helps the Navy support training exercises and real-world contingencies around the globe.

Along with commercial products, the system uses water current, wave and weather data to help make tactical forecasts for Navy fleets and some Air Force users .

The Navy deployed the first six units this month.

The Meteorology and Oceanography Integrated Data Display System-Tactical is managed by the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at Stennis Space Center, Miss., which developed the system over a two-year period, said Senior Chief Petty Officer Jon Johnston.

Using computer models in Monterey, Calif., METOC can predict weather up to 10 days in advance.

How it goes

One $90,000 MIDDS-T configuration includes CF-25 ruggedized portable PCs from Panasonic Personal Computer Co. of Secaucus, N.J. The PCs have 400-MHz Pentium II processors and run Microsoft Office Professional 97, FrontPage 98 and Internet Explorer 4.0 under Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0.

The system also uses Norton AntiVirus 5.0 and ProComm Plus 2.01 from Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif., and Diskeeper 4.0 disk defragmentation software from Executive Software International Inc. of Glendale, Calif.

The system also uses SmartBoard interactive displays from Smart Technologies Inc. of Calgary, Alberta; lightweight projectors from Proxima Corp. of San Diego; Zip Plus drives from Iomega Corp. of Roy, Utah; and Hewlett-Packard DeskJet 890cie and 340 color printers. It also uses other government-developed and commercial software, including Sand from Marta Systems Inc. of Santa Paula, Calif. Sand ingests weather and radar displays and loops.

WeatherTrac 2.62 from SFWX Inc. of Allentown, Pa., retrieves satellite data, including data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration polar orbiting satellite.

Users can download uncompressed weather maps from METOC. 'However, during a real-time scenario in the field, where communications capabilities are limited, operational requirements may request that the shore METOC center compress the file for easier transmission,' said Cathy Willis, a METOC spokeswoman.

MIDDS-T field users would 'unzip the compressed file, blow it up to full size, then display and manipulate it manually on the SmartBoard screen using their fingertips, markers, erasers or other accessories that come with the screen,'' Willis said.

In the first deployment of MIDDS-T, one system went to each of the six theater mobile environmental teams, Willis said. The teams are in Jacksonville, Fla.; Norfolk, Va.; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Rota, Spain; San Diego; and Yokosuka, Japan.

A seventh unit will remain at the Naval Oceanographic Office at Stennis.

Find more MIDDS-T information at or


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