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Building up Capabilities

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Antwain Hanks
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Recently, the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron, in collaboration with the 35th Operations Support Squadron, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Japanese contractors, successfully completed the construction of a mobile aircraft arresting system (MAAS) and a mobile runway edge sheave (MRES) on a taxiway at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

The project initiated two years ago consists of creating eight concrete pads perpendicular to the taxiway and installing and certifying the MRES and MAAS systems. These new systems allow the taxiway to serve as an alternate launching and recovery area during emergency and contingency scenarios.

“We all had different roles throughout this time, such as deconflicting schedules, coordination with stakeholders, design coordination and managing project assets,” said Master Sgt. Luis Garcia Alvarez, 35th Civil Engineer Squadron superintendent heavy repairs. “There was no way any one of our units could have completed this project alone.”

The MRES and MAAS are two separate systems; one consists of a rotary friction-type energy absorber and the other a low-profile runway edge sheave, respectively. This configuration positions the MAAS away from the runway.

The two systems work together using a 1 ¼ inch diameter pendant cable equipped with cable support disks that span the width of the runway. This cable connects to nylon bands on either end, capable of halting an aircraft traveling at speeds up to 220 miles per hour.

“If the runway is rendered unusable, the 35th Operations Group commander or designated representative may authorize the taxiway as an alternate landing surface to recover and launch aircraft up to the size of a C-130 here at Misawa Air Base in emergency and contingency situations,” expressed Master Sgt. Mark Green, 35th Operations Support Squadron Airfield Management airfield manager.

This project served as a valuable training opportunity for both U.S. and Japanese personnel. They executed this intricate construction project together, on time, and within budget, gaining insights into practices that are typically outside the purview of a PRIME BEEF unit, a specialized and rapidly deployable civil engineer unit.

Transforming this taxiway into an alternate landing surface suitable for fighter and cargo aircraft enhances the 35th Fighter Wing's mission of suppressing enemy air defenses and increasing its ability to project combat air power during contingency operations within the Indo-Pacific region.

“The project has been in the works for the last two years, so seeing it all come together gives me and the team a sense of pride,” said Green. “As a team, we were able to apply innovation and bring a new capability to Misawa Air Base that will keep our presence felt in worldwide air operations.”