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September 29, 2020updated 23 Dec 2021 8:05am

Removing foreign object debris at airfields to ensure safe military operations

With highly sensitive, military grade jet aircraft at high risk from the damaging effects of foreign object debris (FOD), Airport Technology looks at the benefits of using Aerosweep’s FOD*BOSS Ultimate sweeping system for military aviation.

Risks to military aircraft

It is often suggested that military aircraft are more susceptible to FOD events by virtue of aircraft design, with their engines being so close to the ground. Combine this with the high volumes of air they ingest, it is not difficult to understand why military aviation specialists are acutely aware of the potential dangers caused by FOD. Even the smallest pieces of stone or sand, when ingested into a highly sensitive jet engine, can cause catastrophic damage to both the aircraft and its crew.

When considering the best and most effective ways to carry out military operations, it’s important to understand that successful missions begin at the planning and preparation phase. Ensuring the aircraft operating areas of an air base are FOD free is part of that preparation. A blown fighter jet engine, due to FOD ingestion, can cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair, whereas losing an engine or a complete aircraft entirely can cost up to hundreds of millions of dollars, and mission failure!

It’s for these reasons that when it comes to airfield FOD control every major air force in the world uses the FOD*BOSS Ultimate air force sweeping solution.

A proven FOD solution

Speaking on behalf of the VAW-121 Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron of the US Navy, one assistant maintenance officer (AMO) commented: “I used the FOD*BOSS when I was in the F-14 community and it saved millions of dollars in FOD damaged engines. Once we received the FOD*BOSS, we did not have another damaged engine. With that, I say thank you!”

Amplifying this sentiment, a spokesperson for the airbase at RAF Fairford, England, said they’d been amazed at the product’s effectiveness. “We went out immediately after using a vacuum sweeper and swept the same area with the FOD*BOSS. I picked up kilograms of rabbit droppings, sand, loose runway aggregate, rocks, twigs, animal bones, and multiple pieces of metal.”

Aerosweep’s advice to military aviation specialists is to use the FOD*BOSS Ultimate Air Force sweeper as often as possible, especially considering airfield operations generate FOD on a constant basis.  Of note is how some air units take their FOD*BOSS with them when they are deployed overseas. So critical is ensuring all aircraft operating areas are FOD free, making sure their FOD*BOSS is in their gear list has become very important. This way they can control their forward operating environment that much better.

What every airfield needs

Clearly, there is no amount of FOD that can be considered ‘safe’ or acceptable to leave on any tarmac surfaces where aircraft operate. In the case of sensitive fighter jets and other military aircraft, runways that are clean and clear of FOD can sometimes be the difference between life and death, as well as potentially avoiding millions of dollars’ worth of damages.

As a solution that’s been developed and proven over 25 years, and with specialist dealers available around the world willing to demonstrate its amazing performance, every airfield and air force base should be using the FOD*BOSS Ultimate.

Want to see how the FOD*BOSS can make a critical difference to the FOD sweeping operations at your airfield?  Contact us by clicking below and we can have our specialist dealer in your region contact you within 24 hours.

Free Whitepaper


Foreign object debris (FOD) is a serious safety issue for airfields, and effective runway and ramp sweepers are required to ensure it is collected from the ground. Download this whitepaper to learn more about the issue and find out why the FOD*BOSS is considered the ultimate airfield sweeper for fast, safe and effective FOD removal.

Download Whitepaper

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