Episode 13 – Weather for the Warfighter: Forecasting for Mission Success

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Episode Summary

The Mitchell Institute is proud to release episode 13 of its Aerospace Advantage podcast:  Weather for the Warfighter: Forecasting for Mission Success. America’s national security interests hinge on weather. Few would guess this, since it’s something we take for granted, but whether we look at Gen Eisenhower choosing when to launch D-Day in the spring of 1944, or the type of munition that will be employed off an aircraft today against a fleeting, high-value target, it all comes down to weather. Join us as we speak to frontline combat pilots and technical experts to learn more about a mission many take for granted, but actually stands as a crucial lynchpin for modern combat capabilities.

Full Topic Guide

Episode 13 of the Aerospace Advantage explores what weather means for the warfighter and the programs that deliver this functionality.   Host Lt Col (ret.) John “Slick” Baum brings MQ-9 pilot Lt Col Johnny Duray, Mitchell Director of Research Maj Gen (ret.) Larry Stutzriem, and General Atomics’ Vice President of Program Management Nick Bucci onto the show to understand the weather mission and the steps necessary to ensure warfighters can rely on this critical capability for years into the future.

Current space-based weather sensing capabilities have served on orbit long past their expected design lives and a new program, the Electro-Optical Infrared Weather System (EWS), stands as the next generation solution. However, the period in-between represents significant risk given the fragility of the current constellation of satellites and the time when EWS will be available for launch.

This episode will discuss the importance of the weather mission, how the technical requirements for space-based weather systems have evolved, and steps that need to be taken to ensure requirements align with available capabilities.

Time Marks

1:15 – MQ-9 Reaper pilot Lt Col Johnny Duray joins the conversation and describes what weather means to the airpower mission

11:05 – Maj Gen (ret.) Larry Stutzriem talks about the historical importance of weather sensing capabilities, and the current and future programs that the military employs to achieve this mission

24:18 – Nick Bucci enters the conversation to describe the comparative advantage space-based systems have in weather sensing

35:30 – Nick Bucci lays down the case for accelerating the EWS program


Host: Lt Col John “Slick” Baum, USAF, ret.

Producer: Daniel C. Rice

Executive Producer: Douglas Birkey

Guest: Lt Col Johnny Duray, USAF

Guest: Maj Gen (ret.) Larry Stutzriem, Director of Research, The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

Guest: Nick Bucci, Vice President Program Management, General Atomics

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