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A NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion used for hurricane reconnaissance missions.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) operates a wide variety of specialized aircraft and ships to complete NOAA's environmental and scientific missions. OMAO is also responsible for the administration and implementation of the NOAA Diving Program to ensure a level of diving skill conducive to safe and efficient operations in NOAA-sponsored underwater activities.


The Director of OMAO and the NOAA Corps is Rear Admiral Michael S. Devany. Rear Admiral (Lower Half) David A. Score, NOAA, is the Director of the Marine and Aviation Operations Centers.

Aircraft operations

Inside Hangar 5, home of the NOAA's AOC.

NOAA's Aircraft Operations Center (AOC), located at the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, is home to NOAA's fleet of aircraft. These fixed-wing aircraft operate in some of the world's most remote and demanding flight regimes—over open ocean, mountains, coastal wetlands, Arctic pack ice, and in and around hurricanes and other severe weather—with an exemplary safety record. There are no comparable aircraft in the commercial fleet to support NOAA's atmospheric and hurricane surveillance/research programs, NOAA Hurricane Hunters. AOC provides unique specialized platforms to NOAA's scientists. The hard-working versatile aircraft collect the environmental and geographic data essential to NOAA hurricane and other weather and atmospheric research; provide aerial support for coastal and aeronautical charting and remote sensing projects; conduct aerial surveys for hydrologic research to help predict flooding potential from snow melt, and provide support to NOAA's fishery research and marine mammal assessment programs.

Ship operations

The NOAA flag, flown by commissioned NOAA ships.

NOAA's ship fleet provides hydrographic survey, oceanographic and atmospheric research, and fisheries research vessels to support NOAA's strategic plan elements and mission. Some ships of the fleet have been retired from the United States Navy or other maritime services. The vessels are located in various locations around the United States. The ships are managed by the Marine Operations Center, which has offices in Norfolk, Virginia and Newport, Oregon. Logistic support for these vessels is provided by the Marine Operations Center offices or, for vessels in Woods Hole, Massachusetts; Charleston, South Carolina; Pascagoula, Mississippi; San Diego, California; and Honolulu, Hawaii; by Port Captains located in those ports.

Fleet maintenance

NOAA's aircraft and ship fleet is operated and managed by a combination of NOAA Corps Officers, wage marine and civilian employees. Officers and NMAO civilians frequently serve as chief scientists on program missions. The wage marine and civilian personnel include licensed engineers, mechanics, navigators, technicians, and members of the engine, steward, and deck departments. Administrative duties and navigation of the vessels are performed by the commissioned officers. The aircraft and ship's officers and crew provide mission support and assistance to embarked scientists from various NOAA laboratories as well as the academic community.

To complement NOAA's research fleet, NMAO is fulfilling NOAA's ship and aircraft support needs with contracts for ship and aircraft time with other sources, such as the private sector and the university fleet. Notice: This article incorporates material taken from the public domain website of the NOAA NMAO.

NOAA research aircraft types operated

NOAA Martin RB-57A in 1975 with the NOAA Douglas DC-6B in the background



NOAA research vessels


  • NOAAS Bell M. Shimada
  • NOAAS Fairweather
  • NOAAS Ferdinand R. Hassler
  • NOAAS Gordan Gunter[1]
  • NOAAS Henry B. Bigelow
  • NOAAS Hi'ialakai
  • NOAAS Ka’Imimoana[2]
  • NOAAS McArthur II
  • NOAAS Miller Freeman[3]
  • NOAAS Nancy Foster
  • NOAAS Okeanos Explorer
  • NOAAS Oregon II[4]
  • NOAAS Oscar Dyson
  • NOAAS Oscar Elton Sette[5]
  • NOAAS Pisces[6]
  • NOAAS Reuben Lasker
  • NOAAS Ronald H. Brown
  • NOAAS Rainier
  • NOAAS Thomas Jefferson


  • NOAAS Albatross IV
  • NOAAS David Starr Jordan[7]
  • NOAAS Delaware II
  • NOAAS Discoverer
  • NOAAS Ferrell[8]
  • NOAAS John N. Cobb
  • NOAAS McArthur
  • NOAAS Mount Mitchell
  • NOAAS Oceanographer
  • NOAAS Rude
  • NOAAS Townsend Cromwell
  • NOAAS Whiting


External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

{{Wikipedia:NOAA ships and aircraft}}