NewsPolk County


Florida's hurricane hunter team getting new aircraft

NOAA Lakeland
Posted at 11:36 AM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 11:36:55-05

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — The Florida-based hurricane hunter team is getting an upgrade to its fleet.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's team is expecting a Gulfstream 550 to add to the three other aircraft at its home base at the Lakeland Linder International Airport in central Florida.

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The fleet currently consists of two Lockheed WP-3D Orion four-engine turboprop aircraft and one Gulfstream IV-SP.

The planes are affectionately named after Muppet characters Kermit, Miss Piggy and Gonzo.

NOAA's 2022 budget request includes $100 million for the acquisition of a new hurricane hunter aircraft. The contract was awarded to Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.

NOAA has been seeking a new aircraft since 2019.