The Met Office has selected Primetech to supply, install and support a Ka-band mobile satellite system in its new ash monitoring vehicle, which is being built to deliver more accurate real time information on the threat to UK and European aviation from the threat of volcanic ash. In recent years volcanoes in Iceland have created major disruption to aviation.
There are thirty volcanoes in Iceland and the country has had a long history of eruptions. In 2010 the Eyjafjallajokull volcano sent a plume of ash high into the atmosphere, which was then carried by winds far from Iceland, disrupting air travel for nearly two weeks in North America and across Europe. In 2014, on August 16, another volcano, called Bardarbunga, erupted, causing concern that once again aviation could be adversely affected.
The Met Office ash monitoring vehicle will carry a wide range of sensors for detecting and analyzing volcanic ash. Data from the vehicle will be sent by high bandwidth Ka-band satellite to the Met Office headquarters in Exeter for further analysis. The vehicle will be used throughout the UK and Europe.