New weather forecasting kit put to the test

Navy’s Maritime Geospatial Warfare Unit (MGWU) on April 8 tested its newest deployable meteorological equipment in a field adjacent to HMAS Penguin in Sydney.

CAPTION: Lieutenant Matthew Bell records readings from the automatic weather station during Exercise Sparrow at HMAS Penguin. Story by Lieutenant Kylea Jones. Photo by Able Seaman Daniel Goodman.

Conducted as part of Exercise Sparrow, the test was planned and executed by Lieutenant Matthew Bell, a member of the unit’s Mobile Meteorology and Oceanography Team Two.

The main objective of the exercise was to test and familiarise personnel with the components and capabilities of the equipment recently brought into service.

MGWU Commanding Officer Commander Jo Haynes said the deployable meteorological kit was used to conduct rapid environmental assessments during Defence exercises and operations, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and amphibious operations.

“The ability to collect in-situ meteorological data in these scenarios significantly enhances our awareness of the battlespace,” Commander Haynes said.

“Geospatial information is a key enabler to providing a comprehensive and superior understanding of the operating environment to inform command decision-making.”

The exercise required the support of a significant portion of the unit’s team including logistics, communications and engineering elements.

A remote aviation forecasting centre was set up, which comprised an automatic weather station, an upper air sounding system to launch weather balloons and a portable weather radar.

“Exercise Sparrow was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the capability we can provide with meteorological aviation support to defence operations,” Lieutenant Bell said.

The MGWU provides frontline geospatial support to ADF exercises and operations through deployable teams consisting of hydrographic surveyors and meteorology and oceanography specialists.

CAPTION: Lieutenant Matthew Bell and Lieutenant Kylea Jones launch a weather balloon during Exercise Sparrow at HMAS Penguin. Photo by Able Seaman Daniel Goodman.





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