Analysis of Weather Forecast Impacts on United States Air Force Combat Operations
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
Pagination or Media Count:
Accurate weather forecasts are vital to air combat operations. Quantitative assessments of forecasts and their operational impacts are essential to improving weather support for war fighters. We adapted an existing U.S. Navy, web-based, near real time system for collecting and analyzing data on the performance and operational impacts of military forecasts. We used the adapted system to collect and analyze data on Air Force Weather AFW forecasts, and the planning and execution of flying operations, at six Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Forces bases. We analyzed the data to develop quantitative metrics of forecast performance and operational impacts. Our results indicate that planning weather forecasts PWFs have a higher potential for making positive contributions to air operations than do mission execution forecasts MEFs. This is notable because AFW units spend significantly less time developing PWFs than MEFs. Surface visibility, cloud ceilings, and cloud layers caused most negative mission impacts, indicating these phenomena should be a focus of future research and training. We found high levels of mission success even when forecasts were inaccurate, perhaps due to aircrew and mission flexibility. Our analyses revealed a need for improved education of flying units on the nature and availability of AFW products.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics