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.


 
 

 
GPS-OCX

GPS III, OCX successfully demonstrate key satellite command, control capabilities

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon successfully completed the fourth of five planned launch and early orbit exercises to demonstrate new automation capabilities, information assurance and launch readiness of the worldís most powerfu...
 
 

Aerojet Rocketdyne successfully demonstrates 3D printed rocket propulsion system for satellites

Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully completed a hot-fire test of its MPS-120 CubeSat High-Impulse Adaptable Modular Propulsion System. The MPS-120 is the first 3D-printed hydrazine integrated propulsion system and is designed to provide propulsion for CubeSats, enabling missions not previously available to these tiny satellites. The project was funded out of the NASA Office of Chief...
 
 

Boeing breaks ground in St. Louis for new composites center

Boeing Dec. 16 began construction in St. Louis of a new 367,000-square-foot facility in which it will build parts for the newest member of its 777 commercial airplanes family, the 777X.  About 700 new jobs will be created for the 777X work. Construction should be complete in 2016, with work on 777X wing and empennage...
 

 

Raytheon, Bell conduct first missile launch from V-22

Raytheon and Bell Helicopter have completed two successful launches of the Griffin B missile from a Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey multi-mission aircraft at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz. As an industry funded effort with Bell’s Xworx, Raytheon demonstrated the simplicity of integrating the Griffin B missile onto the V-22 platform. “This is the first time a...
 
 

Raytheon gallium nitride technology validated for space applications

Satellites may soon carry Raytheon’s Gallium Nitride technology into Earth orbit. Raytheon has successfully validated its GaN Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit technology for use in space-bound equipment. Raytheon GaN MMICs, fabricated at its Andover, Massachusetts foundry, demonstrated the radiation hardness required for space through Single Event Burn-out and Total Ionizing Dose t...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Alexander Guerrero

317th AG delivers during massive JFE

Air Force photograph by A1C Alexander Guerrero Eleven C-130H Herculesí from various Air National Guard units and thirteen C-130J Super Herculesí from the 317th Airlift Group at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, prepare to take off...
 




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>