Aerospace & Defense

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Emerging Capabilities

WC-130J Weatherbird

WC photo edited

The world’s most powerful meteorologist, the WC-130J is configured with palletized weather instrumentation for penetration of tropical disturbances and storms, hurricanes and winter storms to obtain data on movement, size and intensity. There is no structural difference in the Hurricane Hunter aircraft and any other C-130J. Operated by the Air Force Reserve Command, the WC-130J usually penetrates hurricanes at an altitude of approximately 10,000 feet to collect meteorological data in the vortex, or eye, of the storm. The data collected by the WC-130J makes the advance warning of hurricanes possible and increases the accuracy of hurricane predictions and warnings by as much as 30 percent.


Primary Function Weather Reconnaissance
Special Equipment Stepped-Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR) GPS Dropsonde Windfinding System and specialized weather equipment
Armament None
Crew Five (pilot, co-pilot, navigator, aerial reconnaissance weather officer and weather reconnaissance loadmaster/dropsonde system operator)
Speed 417 mph (Mach 0.59; 362 knots per hour) at 22,000 feet
Range 1,841 miles (1,600 nautical miles) with payload