In a Hurricane Here, Can You Hear Me Now?

The Air Force is upgrading its WC-130J Hurricane Hunter fleet with satellite telephones to give aircrew an unbroken communication link flying through storms and at low altitudes. “We tend to fly fairly low and a lot of times we’re not in [air traffic control’s] radar coverage” or able to communicate via radio, said 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron chief meteorologist Lt. Col. Jon Talbot. “We’re too low and all this stuff is line of sight,” he explained in a May 20 release. Technicians have installed commercial Iridium satphones on five of the 10-strong WC-130J fleet and the phones “worked perfectly,” said Talbot. “We now have a capability to call the National Hurricane Center and give them updates and discuss the data we are seeing during a storm,” he said. System installation should be completed on the entire fleet by July, according to the release.