The Air Force MARK IVB Meteorological Data Station (AN/UMQ-13(V)) System is a meteorological analysis/forecasting tool, using data from both polar (DMSP and NOAA) orbiting and geostationary (GOES, GMS, & Meteosat) satellites. The task is part of a multiphase project of the Air Force. The first phase was performed by Lockheed to develop, produce and install the production MARK IVB Systems. The second phase will provide operational upgrades/enhancements to the MARK IVB Systems to support the changing meteorological satellite environment. These systems have been installed in five operational locations world wide, with an operational mission that focuses on tactical meteorological analyses at the theatre level. In addition to the five operational sites, one system is at the depot facility (SM-ALC), one at the contractor's facility (Lockheed Martin, Valley Forge) and one system is at Air Education and Training Command, Keesler AFB, MS. The MARK IVB critical task supports a variety of operational missions in both the Pacific and Atlantic regions.
The MARK IVB software operates in real time UNIX environment with a variety of analytical tools. This type of weather processing is replacing much older technologies that do not adequately and fully utilize current satellite data. Especially deficient in the older system was the lack of capability to process microwave data (DMSP-SSM/I, SSM/T-1 and SSM/T-2) As a result, many new techniques and the means to best use these techniques, are continually being identified. As new sensors are being developed and launched on satellites, they enhance our capability to acquire meteorological data. The ground terminals that process and distribute these weather data products require modifications or additions to the software and related hardware to receive this new data
Many of these "new found" uses for the MARK IVB are documented in deficiency reports as operational deficiencies or enhancements. These items are then investigated by the MARK IVB Integrated Product Team (IPT) for validation of the problem/ enhancement. The deficiency reports are then assigned a Material Improvement Product (MIP) number at the MIP Review Board (MRB) and tracked for resolution. Air Weather Service (AWS) serves as the operational representative for the fielded MARK IVB units. They, in conjunction with the SM-ALC DMSP program office, determine the prioritization of MIPs, based on maintenance and operational priorities. The prioritization serves as the tracking process for identifying the highest priority tasks based on mission need.