A Service Life Extension Program for the WSR-88D Radars

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014: 9:00 AM
Room C105 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Russell D. Cook, NOAA/NWS/ROC, Norman, OK; and T. L. Allmon, G. Secrest, A. D. Free, D. L. Rose, and J. M. Williams

The WSR-88D (NEXRAD) weather radar was designed in the 1980's with a projected 20-year service life. Since the radars were deployed (1992-1997), the NEXRAD program has executed a continuous program of modifications, retrofits, technology refreshments, and pre-planned product improvement upgrades. The aim of these continual modifications was to avoid obsolescence, improve data quality, meet new mission requirements, improve system maintainability and reliability, and control operations and maintenance (O&M) costs.

Anticipating the requirement to support the WSR-88D for another 20 years or more, the Radar Operations Center (ROC) performed a risk evaluation of the major radar sub-systems to determine which would benefit from a service life extension program (SLEP). The analysis indicates that the antenna support pedestal, transmitter chassis, equipment shelters, and receiver/signal processor are the sub-systems requiring a SLEP investment to extend system life. Since the WSR-88D is rapidly approaching the end of its planned service life and there currently are no plans for acquiring a replacement radar system, sustaining and refurbishing the existing system offers a cost effective, low risk alternative that preserves the current investment in the NEXRAD system and associated support infrastructure (e.g., software, technical manuals, spare parts, and personnel).

This paper outlines the actions the ROC plans to take from fiscal year 2014 through fiscal year 2022 to refurbish the transmitter cabinet, cabling, and miscellaneous components, the antenna pedestal, gears, bearings, and motors, the radar signal processor, and the equipment shelters.