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Upgraded NOAA WP-3D Orion deployed on first mission since overhaul

2017
Jan 18
NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion N42RF taking off from Tampa, Florida

The newly upgraded and repainted NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion N42RF, also known as "Kermit," taking off from Tampa, Florida, on Jan. 18, 2017.

NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion N42RF, also known as “Kermit,” departed for Ireland Jan. 18 on its first major deployment since undergoing an extensive overhaul and upgrades. Operating from Shannon, Ireland, the aircraft will be supporting a NOAA Satellite and Information Service mission called “Ocean Winds,” a multi-year project whose objective is to improve our understanding of satellite-based ocean surface wind measurements in the high wind regions of winter storms over the North Atlantic. The experiment also seeks to determine how wind speed and direction changes across sea surface temperature boundaries. This mission helps to calibrate and validate weather satellite data.

Best known for its role as a “hurricane hunter,” N42RF returned to the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center in October 2016 after a 19-month overhaul at the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center Southeast in Jacksonville, Florida. The aircraft has been refitted with newly refurbished wings, more fuel-efficient engines, and state-of-the-art avionics. Kermit also sports a new paint scheme. NOAA’s other WP-3D Orion, “Miss Piggy” (N43RF), will undergo a similar overhaul beginning mid-2017 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.

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