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505th Command and Control Wing News

Turkish Air Force F-4 fighter jet conducts aircraft arresting system test in collaboration with U.S. Air Force

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Peter Reft
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

A Turkish Air Force F-4 Phantom conducted a mobile aircraft arresting system (MAAS) certification test with U.S. Airmen assigned to the 435th Construction and Training Squadron and the 39th Air Base Wing here on Sept. 20.

Turkish and U.S. service members conducted the MAAS certification test to meet safety and operations requirements.

According to U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rocky Sustaita, 39th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager, MAAS certification tests consist of a simulated emergency landing involving an aircraft with a tail hook to engage an arresting cable to verify the anchor points remain stationary under the stress of use. Turkish Air Force fighter jets at Incirlik Air Base rely on this type of safety system in the event of an in-flight emergency that may prevent traditional methods of braking after landing.

“After several years of coordination and planning for this significant project, the 39th ABW and 10th Tanker Base Command agreed upon a Turkish Air Force F-4 to conduct the MAAS test because the aircraft is equipped with a tail hook, and is assigned locally,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Gallucci, 39th Weapons System Security Group commander.

The MAAS certification test is also part of a larger aircraft runway overrun expansion project. To keep the runway fully operational during this current phase of construction, the 435th Construction and Training Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, was tasked with installing the MAAS.

"With one of the barriers disabled for each phase of construction, the Turkish Air Force made a requirement for the project to continue to have two barriers in service,” said Tech. Sgt. Cody Bourff, 435th CTS Command Aircraft Arresting System Depot supervisor. “So we came down here with the deployable asset and installed that, so there's always two barriers in service at all times."

Bourff and other members of the 435th CTS barrier depot specialize in constructing and installing MAASs throughout the U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) area of responsibility.

“Keeping the emergency services barriers at 100 percent for the duration of the project is a unique capability of our unit,” said Capt. Jed Langlois, the 435th CTS Command Aircraft Arresting System Depot flight commander. “We are the team in USAFE capable of bringing in temporary, deployable barriers.”

"You look at an F-16 that's a multi-million-dollar aircraft, and you don't want it to crash into the runway edge," said Bourff. "It's imperative that we have these systems not only for the aircraft, but also for the pilot’s life."

While the MAAS certification test represents a significant milestone for the 39th ABW, it is also marks an important step toward the wing realizing its overall goal of improving the Incirlik AB runway and airfield.

“The runway overrun extension project will reduce flight risk to all aircraft and ensure that our airfield is compliant with strict standards,” Gallucci said. “When completed, the airfield will allow U.S. military, the Turkish Air Force, and any NATO follow-on forces to operate in the safest environment possible.”

Leaders at the 39th ABW take pride in supporting the 10th TBC at Incirlik AB, whether collaborating on military operations, projects, or supporting not only the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) but also NATO missions.

“This was a combined effort with our Turkish counterparts, the 39th Operations Support Squadron, the 39th Civil Engineer Squadron, and the specialists out of Ramstein AB,” said Gallucci. “This was truly the definition of a combined team effort to work towards ensuring Incirlik’s airfield is ready, reliable, and responsive for any tasking USAFE, USEUCOM or NATO sends our way.”