Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Meteorological Sensing Package by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)

Period of Performance: 05/01/2001 - 10/01/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Cloud CAP Technology
PO Box 1500 8 Fourth Street
Hood River, OR 97031
Principal Investigator


The Office of Naval Research has recognized that small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are particularly useful for obtaining meteorological and environmental observations in the battle space. The Aerosonde UAV has for several years provided meteorological observations to the global weather community, and in February of 1999 provided observations in support of Second Fleet wargames. The meteorological sensing package onboard the Aerosonde provides pressure, temperature, humidity and wind. An upgraded sensor package is proposed which will also include turbulence measurement, surface temperature, icing, and possibly visibility. The upgraded sensor package will be designed with consideration for mounting on different UAVs. In addition a method for automatically injecting observations into numerical models will be developed and tested. The new sensor package and automatic data injection, combined with the ability to work from multiple UAVs, will provide a substantial improvement in the quality and quantity of meteorological and environmental observations that can be returned from the battle space.The instrument package will be a refinement and development of the current system on the Aerosonde. Aerosonde North America will enter into a joint venture agreement for use of the new system in their future operations. Aerosonde North America and its international affiliates already have substantial contracts in excess of $10 m for meteorological and environmental observations using the Aerosonde. The instrument package is expected to enhance their capacity to undertake these commercial operations. It is also expected to open up further markets for Aerosonde use.