Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 117 | 15. Dezember 2023

DFG Funds Five Novel Scientific Instruments for Installation and Research in the High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft HALO

Results of the DFG Major Instrumentation Initiative “HALO-Instruments – the Expansion of the Scientific Instrumentation of the High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft HALO”

Within a Major Instrumentation Initiative, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) funds novel advanced scientific instruments to be installed aboard the Research Aircraft HALO. These instruments are for dedicated use in future research missions such as those addressed e.g. in the calls for the Priority Programme “Atmospheric and Earth System Research with the High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO)” (SPP 1294). HALO en-ables earth system science at the forefront and allows for innovative atmospheric measurements with a high-ceiling altitude of up to 15 km and a range of about 10,000 km. HALO-based research is supposed to help understand the interaction of processes within the earth system and human activities. For satellite missions, HALO provides unique possibilities to combine and validate spaceborne data with measurements of the atmosphere that were performed in situ and near the ground.

This DFG initiative pushes the limits of the scientific instrumentation of the Research Aircraft HALO to allow addressing an even wider range of parameters to be observed during the flight missions. The novel instrumentation will provide a substantial and lasting qualitative step forward in the research and measurement possibilities of HALO. 

Considering the assessment criteria and all objectives of the funding programme, the members of an international review panel identified five proposals submitted in response to the call for proposals for this Major Instrumentation Initiative as being of particularly outstanding quality and unanimously voted in favour of funding them. Based on the panel’s recommendation, the Joint Committee of the DFG decided in its December meeting to fund these proposals with a total funding amount of €9.89 million (plus programme allowance for indirect project costs), which in addition to investments also includes costs for personnel to support the projects.

The following proposals are funded by DFG for the next five years:

  • Universität Hamburg, Prof. Ament: HALO Microwave Package next generation – W-Band Radar (HAMPng – WBR)
  • Goethe University Frankfurt, Prof. Curtius: Chemical Ionisation Mass Spectrometer for airborne measurement of key aerosol precursor gases for nucleation and condensation
  • University of Cologne, Dr. Mech: HALO Microwave Package next generation – Sub-Millimeter Radiometer (HAMPng-SMR)
  • Leipzig University, Prof. Wendisch: HALO Large Wing Pods (HLWP)
  • Leipzig University, Prof. Wendisch: HEmispheric and spectraL Imaging multi-Camera System (HELICS)

The DFG is pleased to support this globally unique research infrastructure that is of the utmost importance for the atmospheric sciences. As a flying high-tech laboratory, it is characterised by exceptional flight capabilities that enable it to address outstanding research topics in earth system science. The DFG appreciates that HALO’s research capabilities are also structurally increased through the funding of the installation of the two wing pods, which allow for additional, specialised instrumentation to be used within HALO and which will be available for future flight missions and their planned projects. The new major instruments are not only available to the research projects of those responsible for the respective applications, but also to a broad scientific community interested in atmospheric sciences.


Further Information

Information on the programme and on other Major Instrumentation Initiatives:

Questions on this specific Major Instrumentation Initiative can be directed to


Dr. Stefan Winkler-Nees
Telefon: +49 (228) 885-2578