The UAE‘s weather bureau is to add more advanced cloud-seeding aircraft to its fleet.
Announcing the deal on Wednesday, the National Centre of Meteorology said it had signed a agreement with Calidus Aerospace in Abu Dhabi to acquire its advanced plane.
The NCM said the Wx-80 turboprop aircraft can carry larger quantities of cloud-seeding materials and is equipped with sophisticated safety equipment and other systems.
Previously the NCM primarily used Beechcraft KingAir C90 planesfor seeding missions.
It was not immediately clear as to how many aircraft the NCM aimed to acquire or when they might come into service, but the weather bureau said the deal was a crucial step forward for the seeding programme.
On social media, the NCM said it marked an important milestone in its strategy to enhance capabilities in cloud seeding, expanding seeding operations and contributing to achieving water security for the UAE.
Seeding is a complex process with research pouring into the field to assess its effectiveness. But it essentially involves shooting salt flares or other small materials into clouds to try to generate extra rain.
The UAE’s seeding programme began in the 1990s. By the 2000s, the NCM were working with global peers such as Nasa and the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in the United States.
The NCM, which oversees the programme, completes hundreds of missions a year.