379th Civil Engineer Squadron's latest arsenal to rapidly repair airfield
By Tech. Sgt. Arthur Mondale Wright, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing
/ Published April 28, 2018
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar -- If explosives strike airfields throughout the U.S. Air Forces Central Command, civil engineers can now guarantee repairs to full operational capability in a matter of hours.
On April 25, approximately 50 members of the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron trained on a mock airfield littered with craters. Rapid Airfield Damage Recovery (RADR) is a new six-step concrete and asphalt repair process enhancing the ability of civil engineers to more rapidly repair airfields.
“Our mission during wartime is to ensure that runway surfaces are operational and permit aircraft to launch in response to any threat. So it’s important that civil engineers are trained and ready to conduct rapid crater repairs to accomplish that mission,” said Master Sgt. Manuel Orantes, 379th Expeditionary CES pavements and equipment NCO in charge who served as an inspector. “As an inspector I was watching to make sure everyone knew their role — and also performed their assigned tasks with a sense of urgency.”
RADR capabilities provides a semi-permanent repair to damaged airfields, in turn support thousands of combat sorties for all airframes, and support fight-in-place and expeditionary capabilities. The previous process, the RRR, only provided a temporary repair and supported only one type of aircraft.
“Rapid Airfield Damage Recovery is an all-encompassing program that was almost 10 years in the making,” added Staff Sgt. Patrick Donohoe, 379th Expeditionary CES pavements and equipment craftsman. “This is a very big process and a very big deal to align our repair capabilities with what we anticipate to be the threats involved. It’s an all-hands in operation, every career field in civil engineering operations is involved in this in one way or another.”
Civil engineers also use new machinery, a simplified volumetric mixer, which expedites the time of mixing and placing concrete into craters.
“Think of it as a concrete truck on steroids … after two hours in place, the material is capable of having any aircraft and airframe traversing over it … this material is in some cases better than what the airfield was built with originally,” Donohoe said.
RADR was initially launched at all USAF Silver Flag Training sites late last year, in Pacific Command.