Cherokee Nation Technologies continues support of NOAA-led program helping forecasters better predict hurricanes

October 26, 2016

NASA’s Global Hawk positioned for its next mission with NOAA UAS Program’s Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology Team. Photo credit: NASA/ Stephen Crowell

Unmanned aircrafts providing assistance during Atlantic hurricane season

TULSA, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Technologies is continuing to support the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA to advance hurricane forecasting and rapidly assess post-storm damage during this year’s Atlantic hurricane season.

The collaborative effort recently harnessed the power of an Unmanned Aircraft System called the Global Hawk to fly above hurricanes Gaston, Hermine, Karl and Matthew, and in front of Hurricane Nicole.

The missions performed by NOAA UAS Program’s Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology Team, also known as SHOUT, provide forecasters at the National Hurricane Center with real-time, vertical meteorological observations, which are being used to better forecast pending hazardous weather events and to increase the continuity of satellite data.

Forecasters use data collected by the high-flying drones to assist in predicting the intensity and path of current and future hurricanes. The Global Hawk’s capability to scan large areas of the ocean has also proven it beneficial as an observing platform for environmental assessment and forecasting.

“This important work is making it possible to learn more about severe weather without risking a life in uncertain environments. It’s also assessing and alerting emergency personnel to damage left in the immediate wake of hazardous storms,” said Steven Bilby, president of Cherokee Nation’s diversified businesses. “Together with our partnering agencies, we have helped implement a one-of-a-kind technology that continues to provide the public with invaluable services.”

A smaller UAS recently utilized aerial imagery to access post-storm damage in Georgia after Hermine passed through the area. The images were immediately provided to the local Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service.

Last summer, the Global Hawk flew over Tropical Storm Erika, resulting in the first time its real-time weather data was implemented into hurricane models around the world to assist in forecasting a tropical storm.

CNT provides the NOAA UAS program with services in science, technology and operations, including program management, systems engineering, data management, testing and evaluation.

"It is thrilling that Cherokee Nation Technologies can be supporting NOAA and other interagency partners while flying this cutting-edge technology in support of Hurricane Matthew and several other storm systems during this Atlantic hurricane season,” said JC Coffey, executive director of unmanned systems for Cherokee Nation Technologies. “From program management to scientists, it is an honor to be part of these historic flights."

Coffey, a retired naval aviator and Department of Defense acquisition professional, joined CNT in 2014 to expand and advance the company’s capabilities in unmanned systems. He is an integral part of the mission’s project management team.

For more information about Global Hawk and the SHOUT mission, go to

CNT provides a full spectrum of unmanned systems expertise, IT services and technology solutions, as well as management and support of programs, projects, professionals and technical staff.

Since 2009, the company has been serving government clients with time-tested solutions that increase client effectiveness through the intelligent use of technology. CNT’s expertise includes software and application services, network services and business process services. The company is headquartered in Tulsa, with a regional office in Ft. Collins, Colorado, and client locations nationwide. Wholly owned by the Cherokee Nation, CNT is part of the Cherokee Nation Businesses family of companies.

For more information, please visit