The FAA/MIT Lincoln Laboratory Doppler Weather Radar Program
Adverse weather is the leading cause of aircraft accidents in the United States. In order to improve hazardous weather detection and warning capability for aviation, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is pursuing a two part Doppler weather radar program. The first part consists of a joint program with the National Weather Service (NWS) and United States Air Force Weather Service (AWS) is to develop and install the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD). The NEXRAD Systems will meet the FAA enroutw hazardous weather detection requirements and will replace the existing obsolete NWS and AWS weather radars. The second part of the FAA program is the development of a Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR), which could be procured and installed at major airports to detect weather hazards to terminal aviation operations. The TDWR couls be either a derivative of NEXRAD or a separate radar system. In order to support both of these efforts, the FAA contracted with M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory to develop and fabricate a NEXRAD-like transportable weather radar support facility. This facility along with a second Doppler radar and a network of meteorological measurement stations are installed near Memphis, Tennessee. These facilities will be used to validate and refine scanning strategies, data processing techniques, and weather detection algorithms. The utility of weather radar products for air traffic control (especially for pilots and controllers) will be evaluated.