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Inside the Navy – 02/13/2006
STATEMENT OUTLINING NEEDS GENERATED FOR DUST ABATEMENT PROGRAM
Posted: Feb. 13, 2006
The experiences of operating forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have helped generate a “statement of need” for technology that reduces the dangers of landing helicopters in dusty environments, according to the program’s logistics leader.
The office of Kathy Embrey, Marine Corps System Command’s logistics manager for combat engineer and Marine heavy equipment, ground transportation and engineer systems, is working to provide the material solutions for dust abatement technology.
Embrey discussed the subject with Inside the Navy via e-mail, through a Marine Corps spokesman.
The equipment being evaluated includes 25 900-gallon trailer-mounted hydro-seeders, 25 1,200-gallon skid mounted hydro-seeders and 25 2,500-gallon scraper-mounted water distributors, Embrey noted.
Testing will be done to see if these products can be carried inside C-17 and C-5 aircraft and transported externally via CH-53 helicopters, she said. User integration and evaluation is scheduled for March in Vicksburg, MS, Embrey added.
Four dust abatement technologies are being used in theater: EnviroKleen, Soiltac®, Soil-Sement and Envirotac II. These are all conventional liquid palliatives used by commercial airports, mining and quarry operations, Embrey said.
EnviroKleen and Soil-Sement were developed by Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. Soiltac is made by Soilworks and Envirotac II was developed by Environmental Products & Applications, Inc.
“The palliatives utilized by the Marines have provided mixed results . . . some are effective in certain soils and some are least effective in others,” Embrey explained. “The bottom line is that the palliative by itself cannot totally eradicate the dust problem, but when combined with other measures such as matting and gravel, the dust problem can be mitigated significantly.”
“It depends on the the situation you’re in,” said Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Martin Post, assistant deputy commandant for aviation. ITN spoke with Post after a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing on rotorcraft safety Feb. 1. He added that the amount of time military personnel have to prepare for any given landing has an impact as well. Post said it is easier to use these palliatives in a more formalized, forward position where personnel are more prepared for landing, rather than a place “where you are only going to be for two hours.”
A dust abatement guidebook is currently in the final draft, and will be reviewed during the user evaluation, Embrey said. Publication is scheduled for this summer.
Naval Air Systems Command in Lakehurst, NJ, is looking at approving “new material solutions that helicopters are approved to land on,” Embrey said. At press time, a spokesman for NAVAIR had not provided any additional details about what the command is testing. — Zachary M. Peterson