Yes, you read that right. Back around 2011, the National Science Foundation announced a grant to refurbish a retired A-10 Warthog, and convert it
into a storm chaser. Prior to then the go to storm chasing aircraft was a T-28, which had been retired in 2005. This left no way to get measurements
inside a supercell thunderstorm.
In 2010, the grant was authorized, for the 2011 year. In 2012, the Air Force agreed to loan the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, a single
mothballed A-10 airframe. The Center for Interdisciplinary Remote Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) would fly it in coordination with the South
Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The GAU-8 will be removed, and multiple air sensors will be installed. Zivko Aeronautics was working on
restoring and modifying the aircraft in 2014.
Do the research correctly, and they could help update the instruments systems for the A-10, while doing the storm-chasing. I'd imagine they are going
to need to see land and ocean maps, along with road and river data, as well as radar maps of raindrop size and water humidity.
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