Removing foreign object debris at airfields to ensure safe military operations

29 September 2020 (Last Updated September 29th, 2020 11:23)

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 air forces and other operators of military airfields.

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 air forces and other operators of military airfields.

In 2020, Covid-19 has resulted in the near total shutdown of the passenger carrying commercial airline industry, yet airports and airfields have remained active as air freight operations have continued to fly. Furthermore, air forces around the world have maintained flight operations from their airfields and bases.

Airfield operators under pressure

Airport and airfield operators have therefore been required to maintain clean and safe tarmac environments.  However, due to declining revenues, many are looking for reliable and more cost-effective solutions for ensuring that runways, taxiways and aprons remain FOD free.

The FOD*BOSS Ultimate solution is often viewed as the safest, fastest, most efficient and cost-effective solution option at both airports and airfields. Rather than invest in a costly new vacuum sweep truck system, many operators view the solution as a much more affordable, effective, faster, and maintenance-free alternative for removing FOD.  The FOD*BOSS Ultimate sweeper provides long lasting effects and requires no specialist training to operate. It can be used in all weather conditions and is designed to be ready to use in minutes.

Risks to military aircraft

Owners and operators of military aircraft are more acutely aware than others of the potential dangers caused by damage to, and deterioration of, tarmac substrates. When ingested into a highly sensitive jet engine, a single metal object, stone or small piece of loose debris can cause catastrophic results, both to an aircraft and its crew.

When considering the best and most effective ways to carry out air force operations, it’s important that military planners prioritise the safety of pilots and crew. However, it’s also important to think about the costs in monetary terms of damaged aircraft. A blown fighter jet engine, due to highly destructive FOD ingestion, can cost many hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair, whereas losing an engine or a complete aircraft entirely can cost from tens of millions up to hundreds of millions of dollars.

It’s for these reasons that the cleanliness of tarmac surfaces remains a critical operational requirement, and it’s why every major air force in the world now uses the FOD*BOSS Ultimate speed 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!”

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 air force and military airfield operators is to use the FOD*BOSS Ultimate sweeper as often as possible, as airfield operations generate FOD on a continual basis. This is even after its sources have been identified and mitigated as much as possible.  It is also recommended to regularly analyse the debris that gets collected.

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. But 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 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.

Free Whitepaper

How Runway and Ramp Sweepers Can Improve Safety at an Airport

There’s a lot that goes into the day-to-day operations of airport safety that most passengers won’t give a second thought to, but keeping the airfield and runways free from foreign object debris (FOD) is an essential part of keeping everyone safe.

Many FOD removers, such as vacuum sweepers, cannot handle large debris or work on wet surfaces. According to Aerosweep, the patented FOD*BOSS Airfield sweeper is the superior choice for FOD removal.

This whitepaper explains what types of runway sweepers are available, and why the FOD*BOSS is the most effective method.

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