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.
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.