The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will acquire a Cray supercomputing system to improve weather forecasting for the US Air Force (USAF).

Cray will provide its HPC11 Shasta supercomputing system for operational weather forecasting and meteorology.

HPC11’s high-performance computing capabilities will enable higher fidelity weather forecasts for the USAF and Army operations across the globe. The value of the contract awarded to Cray is around $25m.

AFLCMC digital program executive officer, Steven Wert, said: “We’re excited with our Oak Ridge National Laboratory strategic partner’s selection of Cray to provide Air Force Weather’s next high performance computing system.

“The system’s performance will be a significant increase over the existing HPC capability and will provide Air Force Weather operators with the ability to run the next generation of high-resolution, global and regional models, and satisfy existing and emerging war fighter needs for environmental impacts to operations planning.”

Under the programme, ORNL will provide supercomputing-as-a-service on the Cray Shasta system to the USAF’s 557th Weather Wing.

The wing is responsible for providing terrestrial and space weather information to the USAF and Army.

It delivers worldwide weather products to war fighters, unified commands, National Programs and the National Command Authorities.

The new system will help increase the USAF’s capabilities to create improved weather forecasts and weather threat assessments.

HPC11 is equipped with Cray Slingshot scalable, high-speed interconnect.

In addition, the system features 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processors for use in operational weather forecasting and have eight Shasta cabinets in a dual-hall configuration.

AMD Datacentre and Embedded Systems Group senior vice-president and general manager Forrest Norrod said: “We are incredibly excited to continue our strategic collaboration with Cray to deliver the first Shasta supercomputer to the USAF, helping to improve the fidelity of weather forecasts for US military operations around the globe.”

Cray expects to deliver the system in the fourth quarter of this year.

ORNL is a Department of Energy-sponsored facility that conducts basic and applied research to address problems in energy and security.