NextGen awarded SBIR Phase II to develop weather analysis technology

Morgantown, W.Va. (March 2019) – NextGen Federal Systems (NextGen) was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).  During this 2-year effort, NextGen will create the Weather Analysis-as-a-Service (WA3S) technology. WA3S will support the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community with analyzing and disseminating extremely large volumes of global high-resolution weather data efficiently.

The Air Force has a global mission requiring environmental situational awareness across the terrestrial, atmospheric, and space domains to execute missions and retain an asymmetric advantage over adversaries. This requires processing and disseminating large amounts of weather data to the Air Force, other US military and intelligence organization, and our allies and coalition partners so that the weather data can be exploited by warfighters and decision makers.

Advances in numerical weather modeling and increased global observations have dramatically increased the volumes of environmental data available. This growth is due to both the AFW migration to a new weather forecasting model as well as new sensors and satellites coming online. This data explosion is affecting how the Air Force analyzing and disseminates weather data across the enterprise to data consumers who conduct a variety of analyses in support of mission goals.

Composed of a rich set of analysis services, WA3S is a cloud-native innovation that leverages data locality and ‘brings the analysis to the data’ by conducting weather mission assessment where the data resides.  WA3S will offer machine-to-machine (M2M) services to request analysis products based on a variety of trusted algorithms across the following categories:

  • Threshold Evaluation – Determine potential mission impacts based on known flight hazards, such as icing, turbulence, thunderstorms, and reduced visibility
  • Physics-Based Models – Use high-resolution weather grids to perform more accurate analysis of electromagnetic (EM) and Radio Frequency (RF) propagation
  • Cloud Free Line of Sight (CFLOS) – Leverage new cloud/dust forecast models to determine visibility for Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) use cases
  • Mitigation – Recommend mitigation solutions (e.g., re-routing, time-shifting) to lessen potential impacts for on-going or planned missions based on weather conditions

“WA3S shifts the focus from data dissemination services to data exploitation services that support intelligent mission analysis, providing clients with actionable answers to mission weather queries and mitigation options for potential weather impacts,” said Jeremy Loomis, NextGen’s Principal Investigator.

WA3S promises to be a revolutionary technology that implements powerful advancement for enterprise-level applications within military, federal/civil government, foreign military/government, and commercial sectors. It will be well-positioned to enhance current Air Force weather systems as well as similar systems at across the Department of Defense. When completed, WA3S will provide an advanced and scalable analytic capability which NextGen will license as part of product and service offerings to Government and commercial organizations.

The SBIR program is a highly competitive program aimed at encouraging domestic small businesses to engage in federal research and development efforts that lead to development of new technology or process that has potential commercialized.