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PACAF civil engineers improve airfield repair skills

A joint team of U.S. Air Force Airmen from the Kadena, Yakota and Misawa civil engineer squadrons practice concrete screeding skills using the materials, equipment and methods to repair craters during airfield damage repair training exercise Sept, 15, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. This process can be done quickly in combat situations so airfield operations can resume. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephen G. Eigel)

A joint team of Airmen from civil engineer squadrons at Kadena, Yakota and Misawa Air Bases practice concrete screeding skills using materials, equipment and methods to repair craters during an airfield damage repair training exercise Sept. 15, 2016, at Kadena AB, Japan. This process can be done quickly in combat situations so airfield operations can resume. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stephen G. Eigel)

A joint team of U.S. Air Force Airmen from the Kadena, Yakota and Misawa civil engineer squadrons mix water and a low-strength concrete together during airfield damage repair training exercise Sept, 15, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. During the RADR Airmen clear the debris from the surface of the flightline using heavy equipment such as bulldozers and then cut a square around the damaged areas or craters with a specialized saw. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephen G. Eigel)

A joint team of Airmen from civil engineer squadrons at Kadena, Yakota and Misawa Air Bases mix water and a low-strength concrete during an airfield damage repair training exercise Sept. 15, 2016, at Kadena AB, Japan. During the exercise Airmen cleared debris from the surface of the flightline using heavy equipment such as bulldozers then cut a square around the damaged areas or craters with a specialized saw. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stephen G. Eigel)

U.S. Air Force Airmen operate heavy machinery to clear debris away from a simulated damaged area created during rapid airfield damage repair training Sept, 15, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Squadrons from Kadena, Yakota and Misawa Air Bases teamed up with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., to conduct training for the new rapid airfield damage repair (RADR) technique Sept. 12-15. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephen G. Eigel)

Airmen operate heavy machinery to clear debris away from a simulated damaged area created during rapid airfield damage repair training Sept. 15, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Civil engineer squadrons from Kadena, Yakota and Misawa Air Bases teamed up with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., to conduct training for the new rapid airfield damage repair (RADR) technique Sept. 12-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stephen G. Eigel)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- Civil engineer squadrons from Kadena, Yokota and Misawa Air Bases teamed up here with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center to conduct training for the new Rapid Airfield Damage Repair technique Sept. 12-15.

Operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations have highlighted a need for better methods to quickly and effectively establish or improve airfields. Craters, spalls and other conditions that limit airfield use can create costly delays not adequately resolved by older repair techniques.

The AFCEC, located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, selected Kadena AB as a test base for the RADR program because of its key location in the Pacific.

"This is a significant step forward that provides new capabilities in addition to traditional rapid runway repair," said Master Sgt. Matthew Novack, the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron section chief of requirements and optimization. "This is the first time we have been able to conduct operations like this on an active runway in more than a decade."

During RADR training, Airmen cleared debris from the surface of the flightline using heavy equipment. Next, they cut a square around the damaged areas with specialized saws, then removed the remaining concrete. After the concrete is removed the holes are filled with a low-strength concrete and capped with a rapid-set hard concrete.

The process can be done quickly in combat situations so airfield operations can resume. It’s estimated that 3,000 aircraft of any size or weight can pass over the restored area without causing degradation to the runway.

The new process allows for six times the repairs with less than double the output.

The previous method for repairing flightlines, known as rapid runway repair, was introduced in the late 1950s and was refined in the 1960s. This operation allowed engineers to repair three large craters formed from 750-pound bombs within four hours after damage was made.

"(Rapid runway repair) was a way that was ingrained in the Air Force for around 50 years," Capt. Benjamin Carlson, the AFCEC Airfield Damage Repair officer in charge said in a previous article. "This is a new way of doing things that is more beneficial and cuts down on repair times."

Col. Anthony Davit, the AFCEC director of readiness, said RADR allows teams to repair around 18 craters in roughly 6 ½ hours. He said he is looking forward to having these units take the new process back to their home stations, increasing the readiness of the Indo-Asia Pacific region.

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