Textron‘s aviation business and General Dynamics‘ Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. subsidiary have received separate contracts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to manufacture airplanes for use in environmental data-gathering missions.
Gulfstream will modify a G550 base airframe under a $40.7M contract and deliver the modified aircraft to help the agency forecast hurricane and tropical storms as well as conduct atmoshperic studies, NOAA said Monday. NOAA placed the order to supplement its IV-SP Hurricane Hunter jet and comply with the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act.
The agency also procured a Beechcraft King Air 350 CER aircraft from Textron through an $11.8M contract. The plane will be equipped with remote sensing technology to measure water content in soil and snow. King Air 350 can be configured to support post-storm aerial surveys and coastal mapping operations.
According to the agency, it expects to receive the fully instrumented aircraft from Gulfstream in late 2022 and the turboprop aircraft from Textron in 2021’s late spring. The NOAA Aircraft Operations Center in Lakeland, Fla., will serve as the home base of both platforms.