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August 10, 2012

News

Tactical arming and refueling point to serve helicopters

A new Forward Arming and Refueling Point (FARP) has been built at Fort McCoy to better serve the needs of units training with rotary wing (helicopter) aircraft.

Brent Friedl, the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) Installation Training Area Management (ITAM) Coordinator, said the project will provide a forward-type facility for helicopters to conduct training on refueling and rearming missions.
PHOTO: A T-wall is moved into place at the new Forward Arming and Refueling Point at Fort McCoy. Contributed photo
Employees from Wieser Concrete move a T-wall into place at the new Forward Arming and Refueling Point at Fort McCoy.
(Contributed photo)

The project was pursued to provide a more suitable site for rotary-wing aircraft operations.

The old FARP site was relatively small and literally just an open grassy field, Friedl said. A site near Young Assault Airstrip also was considered for the new FARP, but it increased conflicts with the Sparta/Fort McCoy airfield and the South post air space.

“This area (the new FARP) is isolated enough that it should minimize conflicts with other training. The project also supports the DPTMS Integrated Training Environment Strategic Vision, which includes configuring the C-17 to C-20 training areas into a Field Air Operations Support Area.”

Helicopters can use the FARP site to land and conduct arming and refueling missions in the same, expedited manner they would in a tactical setting, Friedl said. The facility includes a semi-improved landing pad, seven parking pads with associated barricades, two concrete refueling pads, and a vaulted latrine.

Brooks Lundeen, the Land Rehabilitation and Management (LRAM) coordinator, said the complex was built on a former rapid repair airstrip.

“We didn’t have to go in and disturb a site not being used,” Lundeen said. “We were going to have to do work at the site anyway, so we are able to do work to support training and help minimize impacts to the environment.”

The site does not have permanent fuel-storage containers. Units will have to coordinate the delivery of fuel and have it trucked in to support training, he said.

James Hubbard, Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport manager, said the new site also has environmental safeguards, including concrete pits and T-walls, to help contain any potential fuel spills and armament mishaps.

The Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport has a fixed-site refueling point to support aircraft training. Hubbard said the new FARP site will help support combat and field training scenarios and attract more units with helicopter assets to train at the installation.

Constructing the FARP was a collaborative effort among DPTMS personnel, Troop Project work and a concrete contractor, Lundeen said. LRAM reconfigured the site initially, built the landing and parking pads, and removed remaining remnants of the rapid repair airstrip.

Larry Morrow, Troop Project coordinator, said the engineer personnel conducting Troop Project work at the FARP site improved north and south trails into the area. They also poured two concrete spill containment areas and seven gravel pads for the T-Walls.

“This gave them a chance to use their equipment and do things they wouldn’t do all the time,” Morrow said. “If they were deployed, there’s a good chance they would be doing a project like this.”

Wieser Concrete set the T-walls, and the DPTMS (LRAM) personnel are conducting the finishing work.

In addition to input from Troop Projects and the Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport personnel, Friedl said the project also was coordinated with personnel from the Natural Resources Branch and Environmental Division to ensure it addressed environmental concerns, etc.

The final phases of the project will include dust control applications for the landing and parking pads and possibly, in the future, tie-down locations for the rotary aircraft to secure their aircraft during inclement weather, Friedl said. Units interested in using this facility in the future must schedule the site through the DPTMS Range Scheduling Section and submit a special site request outlining their specific training requirements.

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