Retention barriers guarantee fighter aircraft security

23 November 2018 by Ingles 1387 Views
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To guarantee combat aircraft security of the Air Forces involved in the Cruzeiro do Sul Exercise - CRUZEX 2018, a team from the Park of Aeronautics Material in São Paulo (PAMA-SP), has installed a Retention Barrier, configured in cables, at the end of one of Ala 10 runways. In the beginning of November, the equipment was transported by an C-130 Hercules aircraft from Ala 2, from Anápolis (GO) to Natal (RN).

The Retention Barriers installed by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) are employed to support fighter aircraft operations and are thought to attend these aircraft speed needs. During CRUZEX 2018, combat aircraft like A-1, A-4, F-5M, F-16 and Mirage 2000 are in operation, and they can use those barriers if needed.

“If a combat aircraft is not able to reduce its speed in the available runway lenght in an aborted takeoff or landing, by its own means, the Retention Barrier is put into action. It is responsible to execute the aircraft safe stop in an emergency situation”, explains the Lieutenant Mechanical Engineer Danieal Buch.

“The installing and uninstalling of the barrier requires approximately six days of work, which can become more difficult because of the climactic conditions of working in the open field”, says Lieutenant Buch.

The installing in Ala 10, however, was performed in four days, because of the local metereology stability. “The fourth day was completely dedicated to a procedure called proofloading, in which a load of approximately 18.000 lbf (8.165 kgf) is applied in the strips, that are the components that connect the cables with the braking system”, explains the officer.

The cable is the interface between the aircraft in emergency and the Retention Barrier. The proofloading is employed to previously distend the strips, reducing the elastic effect. The procedure is also used to evaluate the breaking system and the installing accuracy. Installed in both sides of the runway, two modules weighing nine tons bear rollers that keep the 300 hundred-meters strip.

Subofficer Wanderley Eleutério, one of the responsibles for the barriers, tells that the system is verified in a daily basis to guarantee that is always in conditions to be used. “We check the cable tension, breaking and hydraulics systems, battery and nytrogen charges and the engines”. “Our team is the first to arrive and the last to go, because we need to leave the system ready to aircraft arrivals and we do not uninstall it until the last fighter takes off in the end of the exercise”.

Know more

The Retention Barriers are a combination of a breaking system and a engaging device, that can be a cable, a network or a combination of these two. The cable requires that the aircraft is equipped with a pulling hook which is connected to the cable when in action. The network allows the aircraft engagement with or without the pulling hook.

The Retention Barriers can also be classified regarding its installing mode, fixed or flexible, which are known as campaign Retention Barriers, that is the case of the one installed in CRUZEX. They require specific fundations to be installed and include systems that helps in mobility, allowing its transportation in different modals. These equipments are employed when there is a need of operating the combat aircraft in aerodromes without Retention Barriers. The installation is made by stakes in a specific configuration, which will depend on the ground and the way of using the equipment.

The fixed Retention Barriers are employed in FAB’s aerodromes where the squadrons that operate the F-5M and A-1 aircraft are localized. They are equipments that require an specific foundation and do not have mobility systems.

Text: Lieutenant Emília Maria

Photograph: Sergeant Johnson Barros

Translation: Lieutenant Ludmila Milhorance