Air Force chooses Mesotech International to provide remote automated airport weather monitoring systems

Oct. 22, 2019
FMQ-23 automated weather observing system (AWOS) that provides wind speed; thunderstorm and lightning detection; and freezing precipitation detection.

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – U.S. Air Force weather experts needed automated weather monitoring systems capable of meteorological reporting for any size airport. They found their solution from Mesotech International in Sacramento, Calif.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., announced a $17.5 million six-year contract to Mesotech on Monday to provide AN/FMQ-23 fixed base weather observation systems.

The FMQ-23 is a military version of the Mesotech Airport Weather Advisor (AWA), an automated weather observing systems (AWOS) that can provide weather reporting for any size airport, and comes in FAA-certified, ICAO-compliant, Air Force-accepted, and customized versions. The contract covers new FMQ-23 purchases and contractor logistics support.

The AWA has three main hardware components: the sensors, an outdoor data collection platform, and an indoor central processing station. Users can add components and sensors to tailor the system’s overall coverage and effectiveness to individual airports.

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AWA software includes a web application that enables users to view data and diagnostic details, augment reports, and administer the system from a regular web browser. AWA can provide up-to-the-minute data to air traffic control, observers, airport management, maintainers, and the community without installing specialized workstations.

Its Virtual Station Technology enables users to combine data sources from different airport locations into comprehensive reports. The system generates voice reports via telephone or ground-to-air radio available in English or Spanish.

The system offers automatic standard reporting in FMH-1, ICAO, WMO, and AFMAN 15-111 formats; automatically produces METAR, SPECI, SYNOP, and other standardized reports; and has a secure web based application allows users to view live data, augment reports, and perform maintenance functions.

The AWA has automatic self-testing and reporting of component status and data quality, automatic archiving of data logs and reports, and offers optional redundancy to eliminate single points of failure.

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The system provides wind speed and direction; altimeter barometric pressure; temperature, relative humidity, and dewpoint; visibility; ambient light; runway visual range; cloud height; present weather; thunderstorm and lightning detection; and freezing precipitation detection.

AWA is appropriate for extremely remote locations; limited power availability; unique communication requirements; and special display needs.

The Air Force has deployed FMQ-23 systems throughout the U.S., Afghanistan, Korea, and Japan, including Wake Island Airfield; Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas; Redstone Arsenal, Ala; Vandenberg Air force Base, Calif; Osan Air Base, Korea; Fort Wainwright, Alaska; and McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

On this contract Mesotech will do the work in Sacramento, Calif., and should be finished by October 2025. For more information contact Mesotech International online at, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center-Hanscom at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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