The HALO (High-Altitude LOng-endurance) aircraft

Insufficient knowledge about clouds, the physical (and chemical) environment that shapes their behaviour, and their interaction in the atmosphere contributes to large uncertainties in climate understanding and modelling. To advance our understanding of clouds and moist processes in general, and to help take advantage of a new generation of remote sensors, the MPI-M has played an active role in the procurement and configuration of the new HALO (High-Altitude Long-endurance) aircraft.


HALO is based on a production G550 business jet from Gulfstream Aerospace Cooperation modified in light of the necessities of airborne scientific research. This research aircraft can fly into the lower tropical stratosphere (55,000 ft), and an endurance approaching 12 hours. The only comparable platform is the new HIAPER aircraft of the United States NSF (managed by NCAR), which is based on the G500, the predecessor to the G550.  Joint with colleagues at the University of Hamburg, the MPI-M developed the HAMP (HALO  Microwave Package) to be mounted on a belly pod of HALO. 


HAMP has been deployed on several HALO missions:

  • NARVAL-I in December 2013/January 2014
  • NARVAL-II in August 2016
  • NAWDEX in September/October 2016
  • EUREC4A in January/February 2020