I meant to post about this when I first saw it, but I never got around to it. It came up in conversation, so here it is:
Another mission at Bagram is to support airfield operations. One of its tenant units is the “Mighty Marine Moon Dogs,” which is a Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VMAQ-3) deployed here from Cherry Pointe, N.C.
In order to conduct safe flying operations in bad weather conditions or emergencies, the Marine squadron has some specific requirements that are not normally found at Air Force airfields, such as an operational mobile aircraft arresting system.
U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Jens P. Walle, Chief of Barrier Maintenance, Electrical, and Power Production Shop, explained the mobile aircraft arresting system in layman’s terms. “A (mobile aircraft arresting system) is basically a hydraulically activated set of two modified B-52 brakes designed to stop fighter aircraft equipped with a tail-hook during in-flight emergencies and periods of inclement weather such as rain or strong cross-winds.”
“There is a lot of room on this runway for pilots to land safely, but just in case, our Marine pilots are well qualified to take arrested landings,” according to U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Robert “PeeWee” Herrmann, assigned here with the Marine squadron. “The (mobile aircraft arresting system) is simply a precautionary measure that is available should it be needed to stop a 40-50,000 pound jet quickly or in the event of emergency.”
And get this:
U.S. Marine Corps Captains Paul “HoJo” Johnson and Filip “Wonder” Heist were the first two pilots to test the new system to ensure it would work properly. “Catching the wire at an airfield has its difficulties, but it is a lot easier than the carrier, because it isn’t moving away from you,” remarked Johnson.