DoD is looking for new weather satellite solutions

The director of weather for the U.S. Air Force has said that military can no longer rely on its Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. The DMSP, which was started in the 60’s, only has two functioning satellites left. These old satellites have limited observational capabilities and are insufficient for modern military needs. The DPMS is used to generate environmental analysis and forecasting models needed for planning aviation missions, ship routing, missile testing and other military operations. The Space Force plans to launch a cubesat in 2024 and a Electro-optical/Infrared satellite in 2025 but these satellites won’t be enough. Col. Patrick Williams has said there is no long term plan and 12 satellites will be needed to reach a 1 hour refresh rate.

The DoD is relying on weather data from the NOAA and other partners currently in order to fill operational gaps. “We don’t always have all the assets that we need when we need them. So we need others to help us out,” Col. Williams said. “And until we can have our own reliable, relevant data at our fingertips, we have to rely on others. There’s a danger in that, but right now, they’re all willing participants, so that’s a good thing.”