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.


 
 

 

Raytheon acquires Tucson-based Sensintel, Inc.

Raytheon has acquired privately-held Sensintel, Inc., a leading provider of unmanned aircraft systems solutions to the intelligence and special operations markets. Located in Tucson, Ariz., with approximately 50 employees, Sensintel will become part of Raytheon Company’s Missile Systems business. The transaction is not expected to materially impact Raytheon’s sales or earnings in th...
 
 
Boeing photograph

Boeing Maritime Surveillance Aircraft ready for demonstration flights

Boeing photograph The Boeing Maritime Surveillance Aircraft program is ready for customer demonstration flights, having completed the baseline ground and flight testing of the aircraft mission systems. The Boeing Maritime Surve...
 
 

Pratt & Whitney concludes PurePowerÆ geared turbofan engine partnering

Pratt & Whitney and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. met recently to commemorate the signing of a risk and revenue-sharing collaboration agreement for KHI to provide key hardware modules for Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower Geared Turbofan engines. Pratt & Whitney is a division of United Technologies Corp. Pratt & Whitney currently has 10 worldwide GTF collaboration...
 

 

U.S. Navy approves F/A-18 Super Hornet IRST system for production

The F/A-18 Super Hornet infrared search and track system, developed and integrated by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, received approval from the U.S. Navy to enter low-rate initial production. The IRST system consists of Lockheed Martin’s IRST21 sensor, the GE Aviation FPU-13 Fuel Tank Assembly and the Meggitt Defense Industry Environmental Control unit. The system demonstrated...
 
 

DRS Technologies to upgrade electronic warfare E/A-18 mission for U.S., Australia

DRS Technologies Inc., a Finmeccanica Company,†announced Jan. 22 that it has been awarded access to an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the production and delivery of up to 180 Joint Tactical Terminal-Receivers for U.S. Navy and Australian EA-18G aircraft. The contract is valued up to $12 million and will include JTT-R production engineering, test set racks, fixtures...
 
 

DRS Technologies’ groundbreaking laser designating gimbal completes first flight test

DRS Technologies Inc., a Finmeccanica Company, announced Jan. 21 that it successfully performed the first airborne demonstration of its GS205-XRZ laser designating gimbal. At less than six inches in diameter and weighing less than nine pounds, the GS205 is one of the smallest stabilized, light-weight and fully qualified targeting systems on the market. During its...
 




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>