ESC awards contract for weather system replacement

Blackanthem Military News, HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass., April 21, 2006 15:53


The Electronic System Center's Weather Systems Division recently awarded a contract modification worth more than $9 million to Raytheon for Phase II of the Joint Environment Toolkit contract.

JET is the next generation weather system intended to integrate, extend and potentially replace multiple existing Air Force Weather Weapon System components with a single integrated system.

"JET provides an evolutionary, integrated solution to the problems created by the large footprint of numerous non-interoperable weather systems," said Capt. Jessica Wedington, JET program manager. "It will ultimately eliminate duplicated efforts and stovepipes."

The current systems to be integrated or replaced by JET include the Operational Weather Squadron Production System Phase II, the New-Tactical Forecast System, the Army Integrated Meteorological System weather toolkit and the Joint Weather Impacts System. JET may later be expanded to include other weather-related systems throughout the Air Force and could potentially replace weather systems throughout the Defense Department.

A particularly significant improvement over other systems and a primary benefit of JET is its ability to enhance weather operations by providing an automated interface to the command and control community.

"The operational user's decision timelines can be significantly reduced by automatically linking weather data to command and control information," said Dale Swanson, the JET chief engineer. "The network centric information process that will be facilitated by JET will allow for rapid data dissemination and more effective time-critical targeting."

The contract includes hardware and software integration and development efforts, focusing on machine-to-machine and machine-to-human interfaces. ESC will lead the effort to develop and field a network-centric weather system capability, which can be tailored to specific user needs.

JET will improve the acquisition process as well. By consolidating the multiple contract vehicles used for existing systems and employing a single program manager and contractor, JET will streamline the acquisition of weather systems and save the Air Force time and resources.

The new capability will also serve to significantly reduce the training burden on the Air Force Weather Agency by allowing standard processes and training for a single system.

"JET will enhance warfighting capabilities through the implementation of service oriented architectures," said Pat Dagle, director of the Weather Systems Division. "Our team worked closely with weather operators to determine how best to meet user requirements while at the same time providing the most cost-effective solution for the Air Force."

During the first phase of the JET effort, Raytheon was one of two companies awarded a contract to deliver a candidate weather weapon system to the Air Force for use in a competitive fly off. The JET contract was awarded to the winner of that competition.

By 1st Lt. Stephen Fox
Electronic Systems Center Public Affairs



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