A Parachuting Anemometer with Attitude

The Air Force Research Lab contracted Lockheed Martin to adapt the company’s commercial wind-velocity-sensing laser to improve the accuracy of C-130 and C-17 cargo airdrops, announced the company. “Airdrop missions require several flyovers to accurately determine wind readings, but our Wind Tracer technology would eliminate the need,” said Kenneth Washington, Lockheed Martin’s space research lab vice president, in the company’s June 12 release. Lockheed Martin will design and build a smaller, ruggedized, pallet-loaded prototype of the system currently used to measure wind gusts at airports. Under the AFRL contract, company engineers will modify the sensor to accurately sample winds aloft, all the way to ground level over the drop zone, sending real-time data back to the aircraft. “Applying proven technology to the airdrop mission is the most effective way to deliver fast, affordable innovation,” said Mike Hamel, the company’s commercial venture president.