NOAA’s ‘Kermit’ takes flight with major upgrades and a new look
One of NOAA’s two Lockheed WP-3D Orion “hurricane hunter” aircraft, N42RF, returned to its NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) home base Oct. 18 after a 19-month overhaul at the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center Southeast in Jacksonville, Florida. The aircraft, nicknamed “Kermit,” has been refitted with newly refurbished wings, more fuel-efficient engines, and state-of-the-art avionics. Kermit also sports a new paint scheme. The aircraft will receive mission system upgrades at AOC over the next two months before returning to service. NOAA’s other WP-3D Orion, “Miss Piggy” (N43RF), will undergo a similar overhaul beginning next year as part of a comprehensive “nose-to-tail” NOAA project to extend the service life of the agency’s two WP-3D Orions another 15 to 20 years.