Elmendorf activates Satcom antenna

  • Published
  • By Airman Jack Sanders
  • 3rd Wing Public Affairs
Airmen here activated the Air Force's first Mark IV-B antenna upgrade Dec. 2.

The antenna is an upgrade to the Mark IV B systems currently in place that will allow for more weather imagery.

All information obtained from this upgrade will determine how the units are installed elsewhere and provide the guidance to be used when installing Mark IV-Bs, said Tech. Sgt. Will Clark 3rd communications squadron NCO in charge of Satcom, and Visual Imagery and Intrusion Detection Systems.
"The Mark IV-B is a weather ground station," said Clark. "It downloads weather imagery off of polar and geostationary satellites then provides that weather imagery to all our users."

The images taken from the satellites are placed over a global map that will show current and past weather conditions. These maps are used by the entire Department of Defense as well as national emergency weather associations. These images are used to plan disaster responses in case of emergency situations, flight and mission planning and numerous of other national flight and weather agencies.

The upgraded antenna will allow the most up to date weather satellites Aqua and Terra to be tracked. The imagery collected from these and other satellites will cover most of the Eastern Pacific.

The new Mark IV-B terminals are capable of simultaneously ingesting high resolution electro-optical and microwave data from both polar and geostationary satellites. They are complete meteorological workstations and support automated scheduling, tracking, and weather product generation/distribution up to 10 days in advance. Automated merging of satellite data, as well as state of the art meteorological tools such as Dvorak analysis for tropical storm typing is also featured. Seven Mark IVB's are deployed worldwide.

The new antenna includes an operating systems upgrade from Unix to Windows. This change will make the system easier to use for Airmen who are more familiar with windows operating systems than the much older Unix systems, said Clark.

The construction of Elmendorf's newest "golf balls," began and was completed earlier this summer.

"Most of the Air Force will go about their normal duties not knowing anything, but for us and operational weather squadrons it means more polar data for users to do mission planning and support for war fighters," said Clark.

Information provided from http://www.fas.org/spp/military/program/nssrm/initiatives/markivb.htm and 3rd Communications Squadron.