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Shaw ensures safety with installation of new emergency arresting systems

An F-16CM Fighting Falcon assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron latches onto a Barrier Artillery Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 3, 2016. The arresting systems are tested annually to ensure proper functionality when halting an aircraft in distress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

A U.S. Air Force F-16CM Fighting Falcon assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron latches onto a Barrier Artillery Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 3, 2016. The arresting systems are tested annually to ensure proper functionality when halting an aircraft in distress. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen and contractors assigned to the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron power production flight perform the final check on a Barrier Artillery Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 3, 2016. The newly installed arresting system is capable of withstanding a maximum of 65 million pounds of force when halting an aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen and contractors assigned to the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron power production flight perform the final check on a Barrier Artillery Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 3, 2016. The newly installed arresting system is capable of withstanding a maximum of 65 million pounds of force when halting an aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Garland Moore, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron power production technician, tightens a restraint onto the covering panel of a Barrier Artillery Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 3, 2016. The restraints are used to hoist the covering during the installation process, allowing access to the rotary friction brake. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Garland Moore, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron power production technician, tightens a restraint onto the covering panel of a Barrier Artillery Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 3, 2016. The restraints are used to hoist the covering during the installation process, allowing access to the rotary friction brake. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron guide a Barrier Artillery Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system as a crane lifts it at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 3, 2016. Airmen and contractors assigned to the 20th CES power production flight performed the replacement so the systems could be ready for inspection the following week. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron guide a Barrier Artillery Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system as a crane lifts it at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 3, 2016. Airmen and contractors assigned to the 20th CES power production flight performed the replacement so the systems could be ready for inspection the following week. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jacob Smith, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron power production technician, prepares rubber donuts for a Barrier Artillery Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system cable at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 3, 2016. The rubber donuts elevate the cable to the proper height, providing proper distance for an aircraft to latch onto the cable in the event of an emergency landing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jacob Smith, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron power production technician, prepares rubber donuts for a Barrier Artillery Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system cable at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 3, 2016. The rubber donuts elevate the cable to the proper height, providing proper distance for an aircraft to latch onto the cable in the event of an emergency landing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron power production flight assemble at a Barrier Artillery Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system site at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 3, 2016. BAK-12s must be replaced every 10 years to ensure the engine and gears work effectively. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron power production flight assemble at a Barrier Artillery Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system site at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 3, 2016. BAK-12s must be replaced every 10 years to ensure the engine and gears work effectively. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C.-- Airmen from the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron power production flight installed new emergency arresting systems on the flightline at Shaw Air Force Base Dec. 3 through 5.

The Barrier Arresting Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system used at Shaw AFB is replaced every 10 years to help maintain aircraft and pilot safety in the event of an in-air emergency.

“These systems have a shelf life of 10 years, and must be replaced before any flying can be undergone on its respective part of the flightline,” said Senior Airman Garland Moore, 20th CES power production technician.

If a pilot is unable to engage a jet’s landing gear due to damage or malfunction, a hook can be deployed from the aircraft serving as a support grapple. When the hook meets a raised metal cable on the runway, the BAK-12 arresting system acts as a shock absorber, capable of supplying the 65 million pounds of force needed to tighten the cable and safely halt aircraft such as the F-16CM Fighting Falcon and F-15E Strike Eagle.

With the system in place, the 79 F-16CM Fighting Falcons assigned to Shaw can take to the skies with the assurance of a safety net should an emergency arise.

“Changing these systems helps ensure they are maintained and good to go,” said Senior Airman Jacob Smith, 20th CES power production technician. “Although they are replaced every 10 years, daily maintenance is undertaken to make sure they are ready to be utilized should an emergency arise.”

Upon replacement of the arresting systems, BAK-12s must be recertified and meet all safety standards before take-offs and landings can be made on the runway.

Just as aircraft maintenance must be done on a regular basis, maintenance must also be done on the systems that protect the aircraft should an in-air emergency or troubled take-off occur. Daily pressure readings, oil checks and engine tests maintain the BAK-12 systems, so they can be used at a moment’s notice.