ITT Exelis has received a $3.2 million contract from Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to design an advanced receiver chain for the U.S. Air Force Weather Satellite Follow-on (WSF) program. The new design will improve measurements of ocean surface winds used for severe weather forecasting.

Under the contract, Exelis will enhance the design of a digital receiver - based on an Exelis subsystem used on the Global Precipitation Measurement Microwave Imager (GMI) instrument - for incorporation into a future WSF GMI. The WSF program and GMI will provide the U.S. Air Force with next-generation weather forecasting capabilities.

"The enhanced capabilities of our GMI receiver design will provide weather information critical to mission planning," said Paul Eyring, senior director of programs for antennas, sensors and microelectronics at Exelis. "Our company legacy with space-based remote sensors ensures we are supporting the WSF program with the most affordable, low-risk receiver technology."

The new Exelis receiver design will offer enhanced detection of natural microwave radiation emitted from the Earth's surface. Forecasters can use those measurements to describe ocean surface winds -- including speed and direction - from space. Contract work will be performed by Exelis Electronic Systems in Amityville, NY.

The U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), El Segundo, CA, manages the WSF program. In a separate award earlier this year, SMC issued Exelis Geospatial Systems a one-year contract to develop a final design concept for an imaging sensor that can be used on multiple platforms and will offer the Air Force maximum flexibility in its next-generation weather forecasting planning.