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.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Joe Davila

Boeing, Air Force demonstrate Minuteman III readiness in flight test

Air Force photograph by Joe Davila Boeing supported the launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Sept. 23, 2014. Boeing supported the U.S. Air Force’s succ...
 
 

Pentagon going to court for refusing to release Sikorsky data

PETALUMA, Calif. – The Pentagon is refusing to release any data on any prime contractors participating in the 25-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program. The American Small Business League launched a program in 2010 to expose the fraud and abuse against small businesses the CSPTP had allowed. As a test the ASBL requested the most...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph

Raytheon Griffin C flight tests demonstrate in-flight retargeting capability

Northrop Grumman photograph Northrop Grumman has received a contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for low-rate initial production of the AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR). G/ATOR is the first ground-based multi-mi...
 

 
insitu-scan-eagle1

Insitu announces ScanEagle 2 – the next generation of ScanEagle platform

  From its booth at the Euronaval Exhibition and Conference in Paris, Insitu Oct. 29 announced ScanEagle 2, the next generation of its revolutionary ScanEagle platform. Leveraging lessons learned from more than 800,000 ope...
 
 

DOD, Lockheed Martin announce principle agreement F-35 purchase

The U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin have reached an agreement in principle for the production of 43 F-35 Lightning II aircraft.  Officials anticipate the Low-Rate Initial Production lot 8 (LRIP 8) contract to be finalized in the coming weeks.  The contract is for fiscal year 2014 with deliveries beginning in 2016. Cost details...
 
 

Boeing delivers Emirates’ 100th 777-300ER

Boeing and Emirates Airline are celebrating the delivery of the airline’s 100th 777-300ER (Extended Range), marking another milestone in a partnership that began over two decades ago when the Dubai-based airline ordered its first 777. With this delivery, Emirates will have 142 777s in operation and is the only airline in the world to operate...
 




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>