News & AnalysisAtmospheric Science

NSF to Turn Tank Killer Into Storm Chaser

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Science  11 Nov 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6057, pp. 747
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6057.747

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On the battlefields of Iraq, the U.S. military's A-10 Thunderbolt jet was a fearsome tank killer able to survive punishing hits from antiaircraft fire. Now, one retired Thunderbolt is taking on a new scientific mission that fits its nickname. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has given a $10.9 million grant to a U.S. Navy university to transform the warplane into an aircraft capable of withstanding stomach-churning winds, pounding hail, and lightning strikes as it probes the heart of heavy weather. The grant, made 23 September, caps a 6-year effort to replace a propeller-driven T-28 military trainer that was grounded in 2005 after 35 years of storm chasing.