NOAA Seeks More Life for Hurricane Hunters


Three P-3 Orion four-engine turboprops owned and operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for hurricane hunting and atmospheric research are in need of a structural makeover.

According to a “sources sought” notification in Federal Business Opportunities earlier this month, NOAA is looking for companies that can provide “re-wing” kits for its two WP-3D aircraft (used for hurricane tracking) and one P3-C, used for atmospheric research.

N42RF, a WP-3D hurricane hunter delivered to NOAA in 1975 has 11,358 flight hours. N43RF, the second WP-3D hurricane hunter was delivered in 1976 and has 10,639 flight hours. N44RF, the P-3C, was acquired by NOAA in 2008, though it racked up 18,086 flight hours in a long and illustrious career with the U.S. Navy starting in 1981. 

NOAA says the re-wing kits must include new outer wing assemblies and center wing upper sections, wing leading edges, horizontal stabilizer leading edges, wing fillet fairings, engine fillet fairings and tail pipe shrouds. Digital fuel quantity systems will also be an option.

The new components are required to a have a fatigue life of 15,000 flight hours, says NOAA.

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