ARMOR Doppler Weather Radar

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ARMOR (Advanced Radar for Meteorological and Operational Research) Doppler weather radar is one of the most advanced radar systems in the world[citation needed]. It is located at the Huntsville International Airport in Huntsville, Alabama. The radar is a collaborative effort between WHNT-TV and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.


This radar was originally a National Weather Service (NWS) local warning radar (WSR-74C) installed in 1977. It was refurbished and upgraded to Pulse-Doppler capabilities in 1991. When the NEXRAD network replaced previous NWS radars, it was donated to the UAH Department of Atmospheric Science in 2002 and upgraded to dual-polarimetry using the SIGMET Antenna Mounted Receiver in the Fall 2004.[1]

Then Baron Radar division of Baron Services, Inc., Huntsville, AL, In, upgraded the transmitter in 2005 to a 350 kW solid state transmitter. In the Fall of 2006, a high performance Seavey dual-polarization antenna and Orbit pedestal were purchased for ARMOR by the same company and made fully functional by the end of October.[2]

ARMOR is the first dual polarimetric radar used in broadcast television news, and one of the first systems of its type open for educational use to a public university, The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Baron has, to date, installed all broadcast dual-polarization radars in the world.[3]


ARMOR is a C-Band (5625 MHz) radar with a 1 degree resolution in azimuth. The pulse length can vary from 0.4 to 2.5 microseconds and its peak power is 350 kW. It transmits and receives Vertical and Horizontal polarized signals.[2]


The following is information about the radar and its advanced systems:

  • One-of-a-kind technology transfer via real-time use of ARMOR in the broadcast meteorology domain.
  • Real-time operational feed to NWS for nowcasting and training at NWS WFO Huntsville
  • Supports basic thunderstorm, cloud physics, cloud electrification and precipitation research within the UAH/NASA Severe Thunderstorm Observations and Research Meteorological NETwork (STORM-NET)
  • Source for Satellite precipitation mission ground truth and physical validation via precipitation microphysics retrieval and kinematic measurements (dual-Doppler)
  • Vastly improved Quantitative Precipitation Estimation (QPE) for surface hydrological and water cycle studies
  • Operational meteorological decision support tool development and data assimilation (e.g. NASA-SPoRT)
  • Detailed cloud kinematic, microphysical, electrification, and lightning studies using the NASA Northern Alabama Lightning Mapping Array (NASA-MSFC/NSSTC Thunderstorm and Lightning Group), ARMOR polarimetric variables and real-time dual-Doppler capability.
  • Potential hydrological data input for assimilation into local distributed runoff models, regional flood plain studies/planning
  • Near surface wind retrievals for assimilation into pollutant dispersion models
  • Boundary layer studies including identification of biological flyers


In a unique partnership, this research radar is used by meteorologists at WHNT-TV for forecasting and on air severe weather coverage. ARMOR was the first dual polarimetric capable radar installed by a television station. The data received from the radar is continuously archived at the National Space Science and Technology Center at UAH for full volumetric and surveillance scans.

ARMOR also deploys a live feed to the Huntsville National Weather Service Office making it one of the first NWS offices to gain first hand experience with dual-pole radar. Currently the national NEXRAD radar network is set to be upgraded to dual-pole within the next 5 to 10 years.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "ARMOR". University of Alabama in Huntsville. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  2. ^ a b "ARMOR Radar Specifications". University of Alabama in Huntsville. Retrieved 2009-09-05. 
  3. ^ "Baron". Baron Services. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 

Coordinates: 34°38′45″N 86°46′17″W / 34.6459722°N 86.7713056°W / 34.6459722; -86.7713056