Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Exercise Torrent Preview: Republic of Singapore Air Force RSAF Mobile Arrestor Gear

This nondescript piece of machinery is one of the few things that can stop a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) warplane.

Granted, the pilot must deploy the arrestor hook of the aircraft. But cliches aside, you get the picture.

A competent pilot will probably be able to take-off and land from a straight length of road long enough and wide enough to accommodate his/her aircraft.

To generate and sustain air power safely, and to transform the improvised airstrip into a military asset takes a system of many parts working together.

The equipment above is called a Mobile Arrestor Gear (MAG). It belongs to the RSAF Airfield Damage Recovery Flight, which is part of the Airbase Civil Engineering Squadron, 505 SQN,  (formerly known as the Airfield Maintenance Sqn) at Tengah Air Base.

Made in the United States, the MAG is part of the system that enables safe aircraft recovery once Lim Chu Kang Road is cleared for flight operations.

The MAG is deployed in pairs, one on either side of the road. Anchored firmly in the ground, each MAG is connected to one another by a stout cable which rests just above the road surface. Its named is derived from its role in providing an anchor point for the arrestor hooks of aircraft that need extra help in coming to a stop. For instance, during an aborted take-off when full flaps and drag chute may need to be complemented by an arrested recovery using the MAG.

The picture below, taken during Exercise Torrent V in November 2002, gives you some idea of the work done by RSAF Air Base Sustainment squadrons when transforming a public road to military runway.

Personnel from these squadrons are kept busy removing peacetime infrastructure like lamp posts and railings (foreground of the picture) and in deploying the MAG. Landing aids and runway lighting will also have to be set up. A security perimeter comprising a concertina fence and observation points will also have to be deployed around the Alternate Runway to secure the area.

The RSAF's upcoming Alternate Runway exercise, which takes place this month, serves as a capability demonstration by APGC personnel to implement drawer plans for out-of-base air operations expeditiously and safely.

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