Airmen deliver weather gear to Iraqi air force

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Levi Riendeau
  • 321st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Members of an Air Force weather team set up a new tactical weather radar and tactical meteorological observation system for the Iraqi air force at Qayyarah West Airfield, Iraq, March 2.

The job, which took about four hours, is part of an ongoing process to set up a stable weather program for the Iraqi air force and provides an expanded weather capability for the program as a whole.

While installing the equipment, members of the team also did some impromptu training to help familiarize the Iraqis with the systems.

"Most of the Iraqis have been through at least one class on each of the systems," said Senior Airman Ryan Unger, a 22nd Expeditionary Weather Squadron weather technician. "During set-up, I answered any questions they had about each system and explained the importance of preventative maintenance."

Until the new systems were installed, the Iraqis had been using equipment on loan from the U.S. Air Force.

The new radar, one of four Ellason Weather Radar 600s purchased for the Iraqis, is the same system used at the Iraqi Air Operations Center in Baghdad. When used in conjunction with the new TMQ-53 weather observation system, the radar should provide the Iraqi airmen with the ability to forecast weather in the local area around the airfield.

"The weather data at Q West will be used locally to support flying operations there," said Maj. James Bono, a Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Air senior weather adviser. "This data will also help complete the country-wide weather picture to support the missions of all services of the Iraqi military."

This expanded capability allows them to plan for flights and missions and keep aircraft safe by planning based on the weather while they work to purchase more permanent weather systems.

"This is to give them an initial capability to perform their mission," Major Bono said. The next step would be for the Iraqi air force to purchase hardened, installed weather infrastructure.

This added capability not only benefits this airfield, but also expands the Iraqi weather scope as a whole, he added.

"Airfield observations and radar data will be communicated to the Iraqi weather forecasters at the Iraqi Air Operations Center to improve the quality of forecasts and provide mission critical weather data to the IAOC," Major Bono said.