The Battlefield Meteorological
System BMETS came into service in 1999 and replaces AMETS which
entered service in 1972 and provided met messages in NATO format.
However, with AMETS there was only one system for each division
resulting in a high radius of data application and the system was
vulnerable because it used an active radar.
With the extreme range of modern artillery and battlefield missiles,
very precise calculations regarding wind and air density are needed to
ensure that the target is accurately engaged. BMETS units can provide
this information by releasing hydrogen filled balloons at regular
intervals recording important information on weather conditions at
various levels of the atmosphere.
To benefit from current technology BMETS uses commercially available
equipment manufactured by VAISALA linked to the Battlefield Artillery
Target Engagement System (BATES). It is a two vehicle system with a
detachment of five in peace, six in war. It is deployed with all
regular field artillery and MLRS regiments.
BMETS can operate in all possible theatres of conflict world wide
where the Meteorological Datum Plain (MDP) varies from 90m below to
4000m above sea level, and can be used with a variety of radiosonde
types to sound the atmosphere to a height of up to 20 km. Measurements
are made by an ascending radiosonde.
This is tracked by a passive radiotheodolite which provides wind data,
air temperature, atmospheric pressure and relative humidity from the
datum plan for each sounding level, until flight termination. In
addition virtual temperature, ballistic temperature and ballistic
density are calculated to a high degree of accuracy.
Cloud base is estimated by observation. The data is then processed by
receiver equipment in the troop vehicles to provide formatted messages
to user fire units via the existing military battlefield computer