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An F-18E Super Hornet attached to U.S. Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 27 lands during an annual Aircraft Arresting System certification at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 4, 2022. Marines and Sailors assigned to VFA-27 helped provide the necessary aircraft for the U.S. Air Force's 374th Civil Engineer Squadron to conduct the certification. Marine Corps Air station Iwakuni’s tenant commands are suitably postured to support flight operations, training evolutions, and combat or contingency operations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Darien Wright)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Darien Wright

U.S. Marines, Sailors, and Airmen Conduct Joint Aircraft Arresting System Certification

4 Feb 2022 | Cpl. Darien Wright Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

U.S. service members stand waiting in the morning for the arrival of F-18E Super Hornet attached to Carrier Air Wing 5, as engine roars overhead circling around to make a landing at Yokota Air Base, Honshu, Japan. As it touches down, its tires scrape and screech along the ground leaving a trail of smoke, and the smell of burnt rubber behind it. U.S. Marine maintenance crew members with Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni helped prep and conduct serviceability checks the aircraft upon landing, to prepare the aircraft for the second portion of the barrier arresting kit certification.

Marines, Sailors and Airmen took part in the certification for the aircraft arresting system February 4, 2022, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. 374th Civil Engineer Squadron held the certification to ensure the Airmen are able to effectively familiarize themselves with the equipment and respond to real world scenarios.

Marines with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron coordinated with 374th CES to have a maintenance crew from Carrier Air Wing 5 fly out and assist in conducting the BAK-12 certification. H&HS also helped provide an F-18E Super Hornet attached to CVW-5.

“We have the assets on base to support training exercises like this, but we have to reach out to other bases with fighter aircraft capabilities.” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Aaron Woods, an airfield manager with 374th Operation Support Squadron.

The BAK-12 certification is a good opportunity for 374th CES to work with other units with fighter aircraft capabilities, and for those units to showcase the maintenance and flight capabilities.

Airmen set up the aircraft arresting cable across the landing strip. The strap is used to slow down and bring aircrafts to a brief stop when on the runway. The BAK-12 is utilized to stop a taxiing aircraft on the runway or whenever takeoff operations have been aborted. The cable is capable of withstanding speeds up to 180 knots or 207 mph.

“We contact station fire department and coordinate with other units’ maintenance crew to make sure things run smoothly,” said Woods. “There is a conditional inspection that maintainers have to perform whenever an aircraft makes an arrested landing at an airfield,” said U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Joseph Dominique, a maintenance controller with VFA-27.

The maintenance check ensures that the aircraft isn’t damaged and is capable of making the flight back to MCAS Iwakuni. The aircraft is checked over one last time and refueled before returning to the air station.

“It’s a cool experience to be able to take my Airmen out and have them experience for the first time something similar to what they’ll see in the real world,” said Woods.

The unit at Yokota Air Base are uniquely postured to support other flying units, including MCAS Iwakuni, Kadena Air Base, and Misawa Air Base. The interoperability between the air stations helps maintain readiness in the Indo Pacific Region.

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