Andersen AFB, Guam—The Air Force is instituting large-scale changes to the way it repairs runways after an attack, officials told Air Force Magazine during a recent visit here. “We are currently still teaching legacy airfield damage repair field methodology … based on Cold War technology and … threats … but there are some new and improved threats from adversaries in the region that have forced us to come up with a new methodology for recovering airfields,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Mares, commander of the 554th RED HORSE Squadron Det. 1 and head of Silver Flag training here. “We have always trained to the threat of fixing three 50-foot craters in four hours. Now, the new threat is going to be potentially 20 to 100 six-foot craters, so there are going to be many more pieces of damage, but of a smaller nature,” he explained. The actual method for filling the holes also is changing. Instead of using compacted dirt and then topping it with a folded fiberglass mat, the Air Force is moving to a process called “fillable flow,” which is “more of a very thick slurry” used to fill the crater, said Lt. Col. Andrew DeRosa, 554th RHS commander. “It’s quicker because you pretty much just pump it into a hole, skim it off, and let it set,” he said.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.