RIONEGRO, Colombia --
Airmen assigned to the 474th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron completed an install and certification of a mobile aircraft arresting system prior to the commencement of Exercise Relampago VI on a shared runway with CACOM 5 and Jose Maria Cordova International Airport, July 9.
The first ever MAAS install and certification at CACOM 5 is critical to maintaining mission readiness for ensuring safe fighter aircraft diverts to a runway.
“Our engineers had to use quite a bit of ingenuity developing multiple plans, working with the airport authorities, overcoming the terrain, to be able to get to the solutions so we can conduct this exercise and train with our partners,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. William McDowell, 79th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and 474th EOSS commander. “We’ve had to adjust, adapt and overcome so we can achieve a mission.”
The MAAS is a BAK-12 system that is made mobile with the trailers containing hydraulic tools and hardware designed to be implemented quickly in expeditionary or contingency locations that don’t feature more permanent infrastructure.
Should a fighter aircraft need to use the system, the MAAS acts as a barrier used to catch the arresting hook in case of a malfunction during takeoff or landing.
The installation involved a multi-capable team from different specialty fields and units from across the Air Force often working during nighttime hours to avoid disrupting the flying pattern of the commercial airspace.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Kelly, 474th EOSS electrical power production journeyman, described the endeavor as a learning experience for him and the entire team to be in place in a foreign country learning to work together.
“It’s all about cohesion,” said Kelly. “Everybody has their skillset and that really sets us apart. We adjusted and adapted to the situation, and we succeeded and learned a lot from it.”
After the completion of the multiple nights installation project the system underwent a successful certification test to ensure it will be able to operate in a real-time situation.
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Dotson, 474th EOSS MAAS installation crew lead, attributed the overall success of the project to the team and our foreign partner commitments to execute a safe experience and return home for all involved.
“The biggest factor at the end of the day for this install is making sure we can get these pilots home to their families,” said Dotson.