CEMIRT saves Nellis barrier arresting kit damaged by flood

  • Published
  • By Susan Lawson
  • AFCEC Public Affairs

On Aug. 22, Nellis Air Force Base received 2 inches of rain in approximately 20 minutes, causing substantial flooding across the Nevada base, impacting four of its barrier arresting kit 12, or BAK-12, barrier pits located adjacent to the runways. The base immediately requested support from the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Civil Engineer Maintenance Inspection and Repair Team, or CEMIRT.

As is the case several times per year, the CEMIRT from AFCEC’s Operations Directorate, based out of Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, responded to the emergency requests for assistance. For this request, the team travelled to Nellis to provide an emergency aircraft arresting system overhaul.

The average annual rainfall in the area is approximately 4.13 inches, with elevation levels lower than the surrounding area. This causes excess water runoff to flow into the valley, creating flooding.

Severe thunderstorms and flash flooding had caused significant power outages, resulting in the shutdown of sump pumps in barrier pits at the base. CEMIRT provided overhauled replacement components to remedy the situation.

Usually, CEMIRT replaces out-of-service units in such emergency cases, but Nellis will require additional overhauled units in the near future due to more flooding.

“Nellis will need another complete BAK-12 system from CEMIRT to replace the non-flood related out-of-service system,” said Jerry Wasserbauer, aircraft arresting system program manager and engineer at the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center’s Detachment 8.

“That system is out-of-service due to compromised fairlead beam anchors. The two replacement units currently being installed were intended for this location. It is expected that a newly overhauled system will be made available when the project to repair the fairlead beam foundations is executed,” he said.

In addition to this out-of-service unit, two weeks after the Aug. 22 flooding, an additional four BAK-12 pits flooded. CEMIRT replaced two of the flooded unites, leaving two that still needed refurbishment.

“This emergency is typical of the complex work that CEMIRT executes to support the operational mission in the field, responding on very short notice,” said Col. Timothy Dodge, AFCEC director of operations. “Their one-of-a-kind emergency essential capability is available to the Air Force when it is needed most.”

The BAK-12 is the Air Force and Air National Guard's standard emergency aircraft arresting system, designed to save pilot lives, while also preventing major damage to aircraft and surrounding property. The units are designed to safely arrest tail hook-equipped fighter aircraft such as the F-22, F-35, F-18, F-16 and F-15.

The BAK-12 has been in service for over 50 years and there are currently more than 5,000 systems installed worldwide. CEMIRT has been the Air Force's premier center for the overhaul and repair of the BAK-12 for over 15 years. By overhauling the BAK-12 and other arresting systems, CEMIRT has conservatively saved over $25 million in comparison to replacement costs.

For more information on CEMIRT’s capabilities, contact the AFCEC reach back center at afcec.rbc@us.af.mil or 850-283-6995.