Preparations for two of the US Army’s newest mission-critical aircraft, the V-22 Osprey and the joint strike fighter (JSF) are forcing airfield engineers to rethink the way expeditionary airfields are built.
Speaking at January’s military engineering conference in Munich, lead engineer 3rd Maritime Aircraft Wing, Master Gunnery Sergeant Manny Diaz said that the landing requirements of the two aircraft were posing serious engineering challenges.
“We are having to create an entirely new expeditionary airfield,” he said.
The engineers responsible for setting up airfields in forward deployed situations are experiencing issues with the V-22 as the wash, or downdraft created by the tilt rotor blades is so strong that both infrastructure and personnel are in danger of being blown away.
The JSF on the other hand produces such high temperatures that the gear used by expeditionary airfield teams is melting.
According to Diaz, the engineer corps are in the process of developing new products.
“This is an ongoing process. We have ideas but they need testing,” he said.