QinetiQ North America (QNA) has secured a contract to supply its wind profiling portable radar (WiPPR) technology to the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC).

The $3m contract requires the company to design and build a prototype airborne WiPPR unit based on its ground-based WiPPR system.

QNA emerging markets vice-president Bob Polutchko said: "Airborne WiPPR will provide the airdrop aircraft an organic capability to characterise the air mass and execute a 'single-pass' precision resupply of troops in contact.

"This capability will reduce the exposure of aircraft and aircrews to enemy countermeasures."

The WiPPR is said to provide near real-time precision wind measurements to allow C-130 and C-17 aircrews to airdrop critical supplies accurately and quickly to US ground forces in austere locations.

The WiPPR data increases the accuracy of forecast models and decreases miss distance during guided, ballistic and personnel airdrop operations, QNA stated.

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Besides airdrops, WiPPR can also be used for a wide variety of applications including mission planning and data gathering.

"This capability will reduce the exposure of aircraft and aircrews to enemy countermeasures."

The easy-to-setup radar system uses little power to provide wind profile updates as rapidly as one per minute.

This portable system is claimed to be smaller than comparable radar-based systems.

The WiPPR is fully PADS/JPADS compatible and can be operated in inclement weather conditions troublesome for Lidar, the statement said.

Image: WiPPR system equipment. Photo: courtesy of QinetiQ North America.