Weather techs train to support contingency operations

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sara Csurilla
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Once a quarter, weather technicians with the 39th Operations Squadron here can be found training with a piece of equipment that can help save lives, prevent disastrous mishaps and some say even predict the future.

This piece of equipment is called a Tactical Meteorological Observing System.

The TMOS is a tactical, deployable weather-sensing device the Air Force uses to collect real-time weather data from austere locations, forward operating bases and remote sites.

"We train on the TMOS because we need to be familiar with it and know how to use it efficiently as possible," said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Robbins, a 39th OS weather technician. "This piece of equipment can be packed up in five cases and shipped downrange, to a mountain, a desert or the middle of a forest and act as my entire office."

Developed in 1997 and fielded in 1999, the TMOS was made to perform under any extreme weather condition. It has 13 weather sensors that can read up to 115 knot wind speeds, temperatures between -80 and 130 degrees and is capable of measuring the distance between the earth and a cloud up to 25,000 feet.

The Air Force currently has 320 TMOSs in its inventory with more than 100 deployed around the world in direct support of overseas contingency operations and humanitarian missions.

Due to the vital role weather flights play in the Air Force's day-to-day operations, equipment like the TMOS proves to be mission essential at every location, whether at a deployed location or a permanent operational base like Incirlik AB.

"The weather flight is extremely important for us as air traffic controllers to safely do our job," said Staff Sgt. John Ward, a 39th OS air traffic controller. "Without the weather flight around to provide this necessary information, safe air traffic controlling would be nearly impossible."