Business

January 28, 2013

New runway rubber removal system debuts in Southwest Asia

Tags:
SrA. Joel Mease
Southwest Asia

A retrofitted Unimog with a TracJet attachment removes rubber from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing airfield in Southwest Asia, Jan. 18, 2013. The cleaning head, which resembles a large shower head, puts out roughly 36,000 pounds per square inch of water pressure – enough to cut through steel.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory recently introduced a first-of-its-kind runway rubber removal system for use at remote airfields.

The device, which uses a retrofitted Unimog designed for transport to airfields in austere areas of Southwest Asia, is the first rubber removal device designed to be transported by a C-130 Hercules.

Members of the 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group took on this unique capability. Airmen from the group’s 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron and 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron trained extensively over a two-week period on the operation and maintenance of the rubber removal equipment.

“This machine is one of a kind. In order to make it air-transportable, the manufacturers had to give it the ability to transform to a smaller version of itself,” said Capt. Kathryn Miles, U.S. Air Force Central Command’s A7. “The cab of the Unimog folds down and the windshield drops to make the overall height short enough to fit into a C-130.”

Taking rubber off the runway is important because every landing adds to the build-up of rubber, and that poses a risk to landing aircraft.

TSgt. Anthony Ashbeck, 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron, receives training on how to remove rubber using a retrofitted Unimog on Jan. 18, 2013. The Unimog can be transformed into a smaller version of itself, allowing it to be transported in a C-130 Hercules to austere airfields in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

“Each time an aircraft lands, when the tires make contact with the runway, they are super-heated by the friction between the tires and the runway,” Miles said. “This causes thin deposits of rubber to adhere to the surface of the pavement. Eventually, over time, the rubber builds up enough to cause a hazard to aircraft especially in wet conditions.”

Besides being the first rubber removal device that can be transported on a C-130, it also allows the Air Force flexibility on the airfield. The expeditionary rubber removal kit comes with two systems: one uses a detergent to dissolve rubber from the runway before being rinsed off; the other is the ultra-high pressure water system — the retrofitted Unimog. The 1st ECEG will now be able to deploy with both systems to any airfield in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to provide this capability.

A retrofitted Unimog with a TracJet attachment begins to remove rubber from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing airfield in Southwest Asia Jan. 18, 2013. The cleaning head, which resembles a large shower head, puts out roughly 36,000 psi of water pressure – enough to cut through steel.

“The advantage to having the (retrofitted) Unimog is that it’s a much more flexible system for airfield managers with busy runways,” Miles said. “The detergent process requires a six-hour uninterrupted runway closure. The Unimog, on the other hand, can be used between take-offs and landings and still effectively remove rubber.”

The Unimog uses an ultra-high pressure water system to take the rubber off the airfield.

“The TracJet attachment puts out about 36,000 pounds per square inch from the cleaning head which resembles a large shower head,” Miles said. “The water coming out of the shower head puts out enough pressure to cut steel.”

After the rubber is taken off of the runway, the system also takes care of the resulting debris.

An area of the runway is cleaned after a retrofitted Unimog with a TracJet attachment removed rubber from the concrete on Jan. 18, 2013. Every time an aircraft lands, it deposits thin layers of rubber on the runway. Over time the rubber builds up and poses a risk to landing aircraft, especially in wet conditions.

“The cleaning head essentially blasts the rubber off of the surface of the pavement and a vacuum system removes all debris and water left behind,” Miles said. “The water used to blast the rubber is stored in a bladder on the back of the Unimog and as that bladder empties, another bladder fills with the used water. The rubber solids are collected in two large filters.”

Although the ultra-high pressure water system does provide flexibility, it isn’t designed to be a complete replacement for using detergent to remove the rubber.

“While this machine is extremely effective at removing rubber, it is actually a supplement to the detergent system,” Miles said. “The detergent method is capable of removing 60,000 square feet of rubber in about six hours while the ultra-high pressure water system could probably only remove about 10,000 square feet of rubber in the same amount of time.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines August 1, 2014

News: Military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds - An independent panel appointed by the Pentagon and Congress said July 31 that President Obama’s strategy for sizing the armed services is too weak for today’s global threats. Defense industry funds flow to contenders for key House chairmanships - Four of the top...
 
 

News Briefs August 1, 2014

China allows foreign reporters at news conference Foreign reporters are being allowed to attend China’s Defense Ministry briefings for the first time, marking a small milestone in the increasingly confident Chinese military’s efforts to project a more transparent image. Restrictions still apply and there is no sign of an improvement in the generally paltry amount...
 
 
Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton

Rapid Equipping Force, PEO Soldier test targeting device at White Sands Missile Range

Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton SFC Justin Rotti, a combat developer from the Training and Doctrine Command Fire Cell, Fires Center of Excellence, uses a developmental hand held precision targeting device during a test ...
 

 

NASA awards modification for geophysics, geodynamics, space geodesy support contract

NASA has awarded a modification to Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies Inc. of Greenbelt, Md. to continuing working the the Geophysics, Geodynamics and Space Geodesy Support Services contract. The maximum ordering value of the GGSG contract will increase to $76.8 million. The previous amount was $49.5 million. The increase in the maximum ordering value of the contract...
 
 
boeing-japan

Boeing, All Nippon Airways finalize order for 40 wide-body airplanes

  Boeing and All Nippon Airways July 31 finalized an order for 40 widebody airplanes – 20 777-9Xs, 14 787-9 Dreamliners and six 777-300ERs (Extended Range) – as part of the airline’s strategic long-haul fleet ren...
 
 

Excalibur Ib enters full rate production, receives $52 million award

TUCSON, Ariz., July 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Raytheon’s Excalibur Ib precision guided projectile has entered full rate production. U.S. Army approval of FRP completes Excalibur Ib’s low rate initial production phase. †Additionally, the U.S. Army has awarded Raytheon $52 million for continued Excalibur Ib production. “The full rate production decision is the culmination ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>