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177th Fighter Wing Gains Expeditionary Aircraft Arrestor System

A photo of Staff Sgt. Kevin Tan looking through a Nikon NPL-322+ P Series Total Station.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kevin Tan, 177th Civil Engineers Squadron (CES) engineering assistant, looks through a Nikon NPL-322+ P Series Total Station August 14, 2020, at the 177th Fighter Wing, Egg Harbor Township, N.J. The CES used the electronic distance measurement in the Nikon Total Station for surveying and building construction. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Hunter Hires)

A photo of Tech. Sgt. Peter G. Kurt and Staff Sgt. Kevin H. Tan using a Trimble prism.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Peter G. Kurt, 143 Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) engineering assistant non-commissioned officer in charge, left, and Staff Sgt. Kevin H. Tan, 177th engineering assistant, use a Trimble prism August 14, 2020, at the 177th Fighter Wing, Egg Harbor Township, N.J. The CES used the electronic distance measurement in the Trimble prism for surveying and building construction. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Hunter Hires)

A photo of Airman 1st Class Alejandro Ng Feng fastening a chain.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Alejandro Ng Feng, 177th Civil Engineers Squadron (CES) structural apprentice, fastens a chain September 3, 2020, at the 177th Fighter Wing, Egg Harbor Township, N.J. The CES used the electronic distance measurement in the Nikon Total Station for surveying and building construction. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Hunter Hires)

A photo of Senior Master Sgt. Ronald G. Huntzinger operating a track loader.

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Ronald G. Huntzinger, 201st Civil Engineer Squadron electrical power production specialist and senior non-commissioned officer in charge, operates a track loader Sept. 3, 2020, at the 177th Fighter Wing, Egg Harbor Township, N.J. The CES used this equipment to flatten the land that was used for assembling a mobile aircraft arrestor system. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Hunter Hires)

A photo of Tech. Sgt. Anthony J. Foster assisting the installation of a mobile arrestor system.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anthony J. Foster, 177th Civil Engineer Squadron electrical power production specialist, manually assists the installation of a mobile arrestor system August 14, 2020, at the 177th Fighter Wing, Egg Harbor Township, N.J. This was one of many pieces of the mobile arrestor system being installed at the 177th FW runway. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Hunter Hires)

A photo of Staff Sgt. Kevin Tan, Staff. Sgt. Derick N. Donkor and Tech. Sgt. Peter G. Kurt marking specific locations to put stakes in the ground on the 177th Fighter Wing runway.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kevin Tan, 177th Civil Engineers Squadron (CES) engineering assistant, right, Staff. Sgt. Derick N. Donkor, 177th CES utility systems specialist, center, and Tech. Sgt. Peter G. Kurt, 143 Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) engineering assistant non-commissioned officer in charge, mark specific locations and put stakes in the ground August 14, 2020, at the 177th Fighter Wing, Egg Harbor Township, N.J. The 177th CES put stakes in the ground to mark specific locations that were later used to install a mobile arrestor system. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Hunter Hires)

A photo of 1st Lt. Bernard Cortes and Tech. Sgt. Delvin S. Reneau using a Nikon NPL-322+ P Series Total Station.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Bernard Cortes, 177th Civil Engineer Squadron engineering flight officer in charge, below, and Tech. Sgt. Delvin S. Reneau, 108th CES engineering assistant, use a Nikon NPL-322+ P Series Total Station Aug. 14, 2020, at the 177th Fighter Wing, Egg Harbor Township, N.J. The CES used the electronic distance measurement in the Nikon Total Station for surveying and building construction. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Hunter Hires)

ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.J. --

The 177th Fighter Wing Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) installed an expeditionary aircraft arrestor system on the base’s runway. 

The aircraft arrestor system is made to ensure that military aircraft are able to stop safely during a landing roll or a no-go during high speed takeoff, using steel wire ropes strewn across a runway, designed to be caught by an aircraft's tail hook.

“It’s a safety net for a pilot, made so they can land safely,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Natalia N. Rojas, the deputy base civil engineer of the 177th Civil Engineer Squadron. “It’s a necessary piece of equipment because you’re safeguarding a multimillion dollar aircraft.”

The difference between a regular aircraft arrestor system and an expeditionary arrestor system, is that normal systems are made to be permanent, while expeditionary systems are designed to be installed or uninstalled in hours.

“The official name for this project is the ‘1331 Overhaul’,” said Staff Sgt. Kristofer A. Flores, an electrical power production specialist from the 177th Fighter Wing CES.

The ‘1331’ represents the two ends of the runway, as runways are numbered according to compass bearings, with ‘13’ being 130 degrees, and ‘31’ being 310 degrees.

The 177th CES had work to do on the Wing’s initial arrestor system, but it couldn’t be done without having a backup plan for the 177th Fighter Wing’s pilots.

“The MCCA (Mechanical Contractors Association) are going to come and replace the energy absorbers on both ends, and we’re working with the South Jersey Transportation Authority on that,” said Rojas. “We had to get an expeditionary aircraft arrestor barrier installed so that our jets still had a failsafe. If there were any malfunctions with the aircraft, or they needed a safety net, we needed that installed before the construction.”

With such a large task, the 177th CES didn’t do this job alone.

“For this project, some of the different Airmen we worked with came from Minot, Rhode Island, McGuire and Fort Indiantown Gap,” said Flores.

The 177th CES was appreciative of every Airman who lent a hand for this project, but they were especially thankful to the Guardsmen from the 201st Red Horse unit.

“With the installation of the Expeditionary unit, we had help from members of Fort Indiantown Gap, the 201st Red Horse unit,” said Rojas. “It was three individuals, led by Senior Master Sgt. Ronald Huntzinger, who were the subject matter experts on how to install one of these expeditionary units.”

Rojas made it clear that the expeditionary aircraft arrestor system is not a simple machine, despite its simple-looking function.

“It’s a pretty intricate piece of equipment,” said Rojas. “It looks pretty simple, but once you talk to our power pro guys, they can get into so many details on what each little component does and in the grand scheme of things, how it protects our aircraft.”

When it comes to breaking expectations and building the future, look no further than the 177th Fighter Wing’s Civil Engineer Squadron.

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