- A Research Paper Presented To Air Force
- Col Tamzy J. House
- Lt Col James B. Near, Jr.
- LTC William B. Shields (USA)
- Maj Ronald J. Celentano
- Maj David M. Husband
- Maj Ann E. Mercer
- Maj James E. Pugh
- August 1996
- 2025 is a study designed to comply with
a directive from the chief of staff of the Air Force to examine the concepts,
capabilities, and technologies the United States will require to remain
the dominant air and space force in the future. Presented on 17 June 1996,
this report was produced in the Department of Defense school environment
of academic freedom and in the interest of advancing concepts related to
national defense. The views expressed in this report are those of the authors
and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States
Air Force, Department of Defense, or the United States government.
- This report contains fictional representations
of future situations/scenarios. Any similarities to real people or events,
other than those specifically cited, are unintentional and are for purposes
of illustration only.
- This publication has been reviewed by
security and policy review authorities, is unclassified, and is cleared
for public release.
- Executive Summary
- 1. Introduction2. 3. Required Capability4.
- * Why Would We Want to Mess with the
- * What Do We Mean by "Weather-modification"?5.
- * The Global Weather Network
- * Applying Weather-modification to Military
Operations7.Concept of Operations8.
- * Precipitation
- * Fog
- * Storms
- * Exploitation of "NearSpace"
for Space Control
- * Opportunities Afforded by Space Weather-modification
- * Communications Dominance via Ionospheric
- * Artificial Weather
- * Concept of Operations Summary9. Investigation
- * How Do We Get There From Here?
- * Conclusions
- A Why Is the Ionosphere Important?
- B Research to Better Understand and Predict
- C Acronyms and Definitions
- 3-1. Global Weather Network
- 3-2. The Military System for Weather-Modification
- 4-1. Crossed-Beam Approach for Generating
an Artificial Ionospheric Mirror
- 4-2. Artificial Ionospheric Mirrors Point-to-Point
- 4-3. Artificial Ionospheric Mirror Over-the-Horizon
- 4-4. Scenarios for Telecommunications
- 5-1. A Core Competency Road Map to Weather
Modification in 2025
- 5-2. A Systems Development Road Map to
Weather Modification in 2025
- Table 1 - Operational Capabilities Matrix
- We express our appreciation to Mr Mike
McKim of Air War College who provided a wealth of technical expertise and
innovative ideas that significantly contributed to our paper. We are also
especially grateful for the devoted support of our families during this
research project. Their understanding and patience during the demanding
research period were crucial to the project's success.
- Executive Summary
- In 2025, US aerospace forces can "own
the weather" by capitalizing on emerging technologies and focusing
development of those technologies to war-fighting applications. Such a
capability offers the war fighter tools to shape the battlespace in ways
never before possible. It provides opportunities to impact operations across
the full spectrum of conflict and is pertinent to all possible futures.
The purpose of this paper is to outline a strategy for the use of a future
weather-modification system to achieve military objectives rather than
to provide a detailed technical road map.
- A high-risk, high-reward endeavor, weather-modification
offers a dilemma not unlike the splitting of the atom. While some segments
of society will always be reluctant to examine controversial issues such
as weather-modification, the tremendous military capabilities that could
result from this field are ignored at our own peril. From enhancing friendly
operations or disrupting those of the enemy via small-scale tailoring of
natural weather patterns to complete dominance of global communications
and counterspace control, weather-modification offers the war fighter a
wide-range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary. Some of
the potential capabilities a weather-modification system could provide
to a war-fighting commander in chief (CINC) are listed in table 1.
- Technology advancements in five major
areas are necessary for an integrated weather-modification capability:
(1) advanced nonlinear modeling techniques, (2) computational capability,
(3) information gathering and transmission, (4) a global sensor array,
and (5) weather intervention techniques. Some intervention tools exist
today and others may be developed and refined in the future.
- Table 1 - Operational Capabilities Matrix
- DEGRADE ENEMY FORCES ENHANCE FRIENDLY
FORCES Precipitation EnhancementPrecipitation Avoidance - Flood Lines of
Communication- Maintain/Improve LOC - Reduce PGM/Recce Effectiveness- Maintain
Visibility - Decrease Comfort Level/Morale- Maintain Comfort Level/Morale
Storm EnhancementStorm Modification - Deny Operations- Choose Battlespace
Environment Precipitation DenialSpace Weather - Deny Fresh Water- Improve
Communication Reliability -- Induce Drought- Intercept Enemy Transmissions
Space Weather- Revitalize Space Assets - Disrupt Communications/RadarFog
and Cloud Generation - Disable/Destroy Space Assets- Increase Concealment
Fog and Cloud RemovalFog and Cloud Removal - Deny Concealment- Maintain
Airfield Operations - Increase Vulnerability to PGM/Recce- Enhance PGM
Effectiveness Detect Hostile Weather ActivitiesDefend against Enemy Capabilities
- Current technologies that will mature
over the next 30 years will offer anyone who has the necessary resources
the ability to modify weather patterns and their corresponding effects,
at least on the local scale. Current demographic, economic, and environmental
trends will create global stresses that provide the impetus necessary for
many countries or groups to turn this weather-modification ability into
- In the United States, weather-modification
will likely become a part of national security policy with both domestic
and international applications. Our government will pursue such a policy,
depending on its interests, at various levels. These levels could include
unilateral actions, participation in a security framework such as NATO,
membership in an international organization such as the UN, or participation
in a coalition. Assuming that in 2025 our national security strategy includes
weather-modification, its use in our national military strategy will naturally
follow. Besides the significant benefits an operational capability would
provide, another motivation to pursue weather-modification is to deter
and counter potential adversaries.
- In this paper we show that appropriate
application of weather-modification can provide battlespace dominance to
a degree never before imagined. In the future, such operations will enhance
air and space superiority and provide new options for battlespace shaping
and battlespace awareness.<v3c15-7.htm#11 "The technology is there,
waiting for us to pull it all together;"<v3c15-7.htm#22 in 2025
we can "Own the Weather."
- Chapter 1 Introduction
- Scenario: Imagine that in 2025 the US
is fighting a rich, but now consolidated, politically powerful drug cartel
in South America. The cartel has purchased hundreds of Russian-and Chinese-built
fighters that have successfully thwarted our attempts to attack their production
facilities. With their local numerical superiority and interior lines,
the cartel is launching more than 10 aircraft for every one of ours. In
addition, the cartel is using the French system probatoire d' observation
de la terre (SPOT) positioning and tracking imagery systems, which in 2025
are capable of transmitting near-real-time, multispectral imagery with
1 meter resolution. The US wishes to engage the enemy on an uneven playing
field in order to exploit the full potential of our aircraft and munitions.
- Meteorological analysis reveals that
equatorial South America typically has afternoon thunderstorms on a daily
basis throughout the year. Our intelligence has confirmed that cartel pilots
are reluctant to fly in or near thunderstorms. Therefore, our weather force
support element (WFSE), which is a part of the commander in chief's (CINC)
air operations center (AOC), is tasked to forecast storm paths and trigger
or intensify thunderstorm cells over critical target areas that the enemy
must defend with their aircraft. Since our aircraft in 2025 have all-weather
capability, the thunderstorm threat is minimal to our forces, and we can
effectively and decisively control the sky over the target.
- The WFSE has the necessary sensor and
communication capabilities to observe, detect, and act on weather-modification
requirements to support US military objectives. These capabilities are
part of an advanced battle area system that supports the war-fighting CINC.
In our scenario, the CINC tasks the WFSE to conduct storm intensification
and concealment operations. The WFSE models the atmospheric conditions
to forecast, with 90 percent confidence, the likelihood of successful modification
using airborne cloud generation and seeding.
- In 2025, uninhabited aerospace vehicles
(UAV) are routinely used for weather-modification operations. By cross-referencing
desired attack times with wind and thunderstorm forecasts and the SPOT
satellite's projected orbit, the WFSE generates mission profiles for each
UAV. The WFSE guides each UAV using near-real-time information from a networked
- Prior to the attack, which is coordinated
with forecasted weather conditions, the UAVs begin cloud generation and
seeding operations. UAVs disperse a cirrus shield to deny enemy visual
and infrared (IR) surveillance. Simultaneously, microwave heaters create
localized scintillation to disrupt active sensing via synthetic aperture
radar (SAR) systems such as the commercially available Canadian search
and rescue satellite-aided tracking (SARSAT) that will be widely available
in 2025. Other cloud seeding operations cause a developing thunderstorm
to intensify over the target, severely limiting the enemy's capability
to defend. The WFSE monitors the entire operation in real-time and notes
the successful completion of another very important but routine weather-modification
- This scenario may seem far-fetched, but
by 2025 it is within the realm of possibility. The next chapter explores
the reasons for weather-modification, defines the scope, and examines trends
that will make it possible in the next 30 years.
- Contact: http://www.au.af.mil/au/2025/contact.htm
- Last updated: 11 December 1996