The US Air Force (USAF) has ordered QinetiQ North America’s (QNA) tactical atmospheric sounding kit (TASK) systems and radiosondes for use by the special operations weather teams.

Chosen by the Air Force Special Operations Command’s (AFSOC) 720th Special Tactics group, the lightweight TASK atmospheric data collection system provides forward deployed soldiers with a real-time automated weather data collection capability.

QNA Technology Solutions EVP and general manager Dr Andrew Rogers said the atmospheric conditions can make a big difference in decisions in multiple special operations missions, which provide only one chance for success.

"TASK enables warfighters to collect accurate data quickly and discreetly, anywhere in the world."

"TASK enables warfighters to collect accurate data quickly and discreetly, anywhere in the world," Rogers said.

Equipped with a small pressurised helium tank and an inflatable 30g weather balloon, the TASK is a man portable, self-contained kit designed to enable soldiers report real-time atmospheric data for weather forecasting or tactical weather dependent missions, including artillery support, aerial delivery, or embarked air cavalry operations.

Weighing less than 2lb, the readily deployable system can continuously measure and distribute wind speed, direction, pressure, temperature and humidity, simultaneously climbing up to 45,000ft altitude.

The collected data can either be reported by voice or net-centric data transmission to any users seeking such information, or be imported into standard weather forecasting software for generation of tactical weather reports for mission planning and modelling.

Additional equipment of the precision airdrop system (PADS ) / joint precision airdrop system (JPADS) compatible system include an ultra-high frequency (UHF) radiosonde, and a wearable TASK UHF transceiver.

Defence Technology