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Family of Foreign Object Damage Mitigation Equipment (F2ME)



OBJECTIVE: Develop a family of foreign object damage (FOD) mitigation equipment (F2ME) that increases the ability of aircraft to operate in austere environments, reduce engine repair cost, and enhance aircraft sortie rates through FOD prevention. 

DESCRIPTION: The Marine Corps requires a debris mitigation system capable of removing or relocating foreign objects from aircraft operating surfaces at main air bases, air facilities, and Forward Arming and Re-fueling Sites (FARPs) at CONUS and OCONUS locations. The current Marine Corps FOD mitigation capability is not configured properly with adequate equipment to provide the necessary support for all Marine Corps and Joint aircraft platforms in support of the Marine Corps Operating Concept (MOC). Recent analysis outlines growing cost and decreased flight hours/operations due to FOD incidents. The amount of debris and required timelines for removal is disproportionate to our current FOD mitigation equipment capabilities in support of operational concepts and at our expeditionary aircraft training sites, thus reducing the air combat element support forward and their ability to train pilots. This effort should capitalize on new techniques and procedures that will provide more durable expedient debris removal in a shorter time; Reference 1 is a study that can be used as a reference to characterize foreign object debris that may be found on a runway. The F2ME capability must take advantage of modern developments in debris removal equipment, must be easily deployable, must be flexible enough to work in all geographic locations and environments, and provides the capability to quickly remove debris from concrete, asphalt, and airfield surfacing materials (AM2). The F2ME supports the deployment, employment, sustainment and redeployment of the Marine Corps aviation assets across the full range of military operations. Reference 1 identifies key attributes of an airport foreign object debris management program, as well as equipment considerations. The F2ME capability must be able to support USMC and Joint aircraft; operate in extreme cold/hot environments; and be easily transportable, modular, lightweight, and efficient. The F2ME capability must be able to clear, at a minimum, 7,500 sq ft of aircraft operational area per minute using towable/driven systems (pre-operational) and 1,500 sq ft per minute using man-portable systems (rapid response between sorties). It is envisioned that a F2ME will encompass equipment that will be consumable (towable mats) along with robust equipment (i.e., vehicles, tow hitches, and blowers). Summary of capabilities: • Capable of removing debris on aircraft operational surfaces in support of USMC aircraft and various joint platforms • Operate in expeditionary environments, per MIL-STD 810F/G • Transportable by strategic and tactical, air, land, and sea assets • Containerized for ease of use, scalability, and employment Desired System attributes: (1) Debris Removal Capability. The F2ME shall contain equipment capable of removing debris from an airfield surface without causing damage, to include surfaces consisting of aluminum matting generation 2 (AM2), at the following rates: - 6,500 square feet per minute (sq ft/min), Threshold (T), 7,500 sq ft/min, Objective (O); - Landing surface with joints, fractures, and/or aircraft tie-down areas at a rate of 3,500 sq ft/min (T), 4,500 sq ft/min (O); - Man-portable configuration on an individual aircraft landing site in a remote location at a rate of 1,500 sq ft/min (T), 2,500 sq ft/min (O); Marines conducting FOD mitigation operations require equipment that can quickly and efficiently remove FOD from landing surfaces of various sizes and locations. (2) Debris Removal Effectiveness. The FOD Mitigation vacuum shall pick up and retain 94% (T=O) by weight of all debris in its path. All vacuum capable F2ME shall be certified to the Environmental Protection Agency air quality standard of Particulate Matter 10 (PM-10) T=O. The FOD Mitigation friction mat shall be capable of collecting 95% (T), 98% (O) of all debris in its path. The FOD Mitigation debris blowers (towed and man-portable) shall each be capable of relocating 95% (T), 98% (O) of all debris in its path. Consult the Federal Specification for Airfield Runway Sweeping reference 32 for a list of the materials utilized to test the effectiveness of debris collecting equipment [Ref 3]. Marines conducting FOD mitigation operations require equipment that can effectively remove FOD from landing surfaces of various types and conditions. (3) Cleanout. The F2ME vacuum and sweeping components shall be designed to facilitate rapid cleanout of debris by an individual person in less than 5 minutes (T), 3 minutes (O). Rapid cleanout of debris will allow a quicker turnaround of FOD mitigation resources. (4) Battery Power. The F2ME shall utilize direct current battery power for all man-portable, expeditionary components equipped with a motor, with a runtime of at least 30 minutes (T) and 45 minutes (O). The quantity of batteries provided with each component shall be sufficient to provide at least 2 hours of continued use (T=O). The F2ME shall require no more than 600 Watts to recharge batteries, via 120VAC/220 VAC 50-60 Hz source, of equipment powered by direct current (T=O). Battery powered equipment emits less of an audible signature than equipment powered by internal combustion engine and reduces the burden of maintaining additional fuel in an expeditionary environment. Expected battery life is 3 years (T) or 5 years (O). (5) Fuel Required. The F2ME components that have internal combustion engines shall utilize the current approved diesel fuel (JP8/F24) (T=O). The F2ME shall have fuel tank ports compatible with Marine Corps and NATO dispensing nozzles; and shall have fuel ports capable of accepting fuel from a 5-gallon can (T = O). Man-portable platforms may use standard military gasoline. The platforms must be capable of operating on standard military fuel and accepting fuel from standard means. (6) Weather. The F2ME shall be capable of operating in austere environments and temperatures ranging from -25° Fahrenheit (F) to 120° F (T=O). The F2ME shall be capable of effectively operating in crosswind conditions with wind speeds up to 20 miles per hour (MPH) (T), 30 MPH (O). The F2ME must be capable of operating worldwide in varying environments in order to support the continuum of operations. (7) Transportability. The F2ME shall be capable of being transported by land, air and sea via naval, Maritime Pre-positioning Force (MPF) or commercial shipping as defined below. This capability and its individual components must be transportable to forward deployed forces to enable expansion of inter-theater and intra-theater lines of communication using Marine Corps transportation assets. • Land: common rail carrier, commercial truck, tactical vehicles (T=O). • Air: C-130, C-17, and C-5 (T=O). Towable and man-portable components of the family of systems (FOS) shall be internally transportable aboard MV-22B and CH 53E (T=O). • Sea: U.S. Navy amphibious assault ships, landing craft utility, MPF, and commercial shipping (T=O). (8) Weight. The F2ME shall not exceed the following weights: • Man-portable: 40 lbs. (T), 20 lbs. (O) • Towable: 2,500lbs (T), 25 lbs. (O) • Self-Propelled: 26,500 lbs. GVWR (T), 3,500 lbs. GVWR (O) (9) Container. The F2ME Man-portable assets shall be containerized in a Quadruple Container (T=O). (10) Maintainability. The F2ME shall be designed to permit maintenance and repairs by military personnel utilizing general purpose tools with minimum training requirements. Maintenance for the F2ME components will not require special tools (T=O). [Rationale: It is essential for the F2ME to maintain a high state of combat readiness with very few maintenance requirements in order to substantially increase the number and quality of FOD mitigation missions that can be completed successfully.] (11) Tool Storage. The F2ME tools, accessories and mechanics tool kit shall be stored within a self-contained, weather proof, lockable storage container (T=O). [Rationale: This type of storage for tools and accessories will allow for their protection from the effects of the weather and prevent pilferage.] (12) NATO Slave Receptacle. Self-propelled and towable F2ME components powered by internal combustion engines equipped with electronic starting shall also be equipped with a standard NATO slave receptacle to support maintenance and operations (T=O). [Rationale: Redundancy in electronic starting systems ensures continued operations when replacement batteries may not be readily available.] (13) Operator's Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services. The F2ME shall be designed to allow the operator/crew to conduct Operator's Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services (PMCS) (before, during, and after) in 30 minutes or less (T); 10 minutes (O). [Rationale: Marines must be able to perform Operator's PMCS in a reasonable amount of time to maximize a capability's time spent performing its primary mission in accordance with policies outlined in Marine Corps Order (MCO) 4790.25.] (14) Operator's Night Vision Equipment. The F2ME that is self-propelled shall be compatible with standard Marine Corps issue night vision equipment that will enable a Marine to operate the components during night and in limited visibility (T = O). [Rationale: The F2ME requires the capability to operate at night and during periods of limited visibility.] (15) Family of Systems (FOS) Components. The F2ME may have individual equipment components that employ vacuums, blowers, friction mats, and brushes to meet the requirements of removing debris from aircraft landing surfaces (T=O). [Rationale: A FOS will allow for FOD Mitigation that is scalable and able to be performed on various types and sizes of landing surfaces.] (16) Personnel Physical Dimensions. All references to personnel (operator, maintainer, or other) will range from 5th percentile female to 95th percentile male categories (T = O). [Rationale: The F2ME will be operated and maintained by personnel of various sizes. Note: Sizes of personnel are defined in DOD-HDBK-743A.] (17) Condition Based Maintenance. The F2ME should be equipped with current industry standard sensors, electronic components and other technologies to enable Condition Based Maintenance Plus (CBM+) to be conducted through the collection of essential data and analysis of failures to make prognostic maintenance decisions (T = O). [Rationale: The application and integration of appropriate CBM+ processes and capabilities into the F2ME will improve the availability, reliability, and operation of the equipment and reduce support costs across its lifecycle.] (18) Electronic Maintenance Support System. The self-propelled F2ME should be equipped with an interface port for connection to the current Electronic Maintenance Support System (EMSS) with access to Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETM) (T = O). [Rationale: This will enable F2ME troubleshooting, repair, and component adjustment and allow access to documentation of maintenance actions.] (19) Magnetic Pickups. The F2ME may incorporate the use of a mounted or towed magnet assembly that is height adjustable, self-cleaning, and capable of removing 98% (T), 100% (O) of the ferrous metals in its path at operational speed. [Rationale: Magnets are a relatively simple and effective means for removing ferrous metal debris without damaging vacuum components.] (20) Soil Stabilization. The F2ME may contain equipment capable of mixing soil-stabilizing palliatives to a depth of 8 inches (T), 16 inches (O) at a rate of 50 sq ft/min (T), 100 sq ft/min (O). [Rationale: Dust abatement through soil stabilization is a key component of FOD mitigation for airfield and landing surfaces. Proper mixing of palliatives into the soil prevents creation of additional FOD from surface-laid applications.] (21) Environmental Factors – Operating Climatic Characteristics. The F2ME capability shall be able to operate in air temperatures from -25F to 120 F without special kits (O=T), per MIL-STD 810F/G. [Rationale: To support the MAGTF for world-wide expeditionary operations.] 

PHASE I: Develop concepts for F2ME that meets the requirements described above. Demonstrate the feasibility of the concepts in meeting Marine Corps needs by material testing and analytical modeling, as appropriate. Establish that the concepts can be developed into a useful product for the Marine Corps. Provide a Phase II development plan with performance goals and key technical milestones, and addresses technical risk reduction. 

PHASE II: Develop a scaled prototype evaluation to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase I development plan and the Marine Corps requirements for the F2ME. Demonstrate system performance through prototype evaluation and modeling or analytical methods over the required range of parameters including numerous deployment cycles. Use evaluation results to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet Marine Corps requirements. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Marine Corps use. 

PHASE III: Support the Marine Corps in transitioning the technology for Marine Corps use. Develop the F2ME for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment. Support the Marine Corps for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Marine Corps use. The development of a family of foreign object mitigation equipment has the potential for use at any airport or air facility where there is a requirement to remove or relocate debris from aircraft operating surfaces. The kit would most likely appeal to smaller airports or auxiliary air fields where limited support or staff is on hand but the need still exists to clear debris from aircraft operating surfaces. 


1. Herricks, Edwin, Mayer, David and Majumdar, Sidney. “Foreign Object Debris Characterization at a Large International Airport.” DOT/FAA/TC-TN14/48, February 8, 2015.; 2. O’Donnell, Michael. “Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Management.” Advisory Circular 150/5210-24, 9/30/2010.; 3. OO-S-2796, FEDERAL SPECIFICATION, SWEEPER, VACUUM OR REGENERATIVE, AIRFIELD RUNWAY, SELF-PROPELLED, DED. 22 FEB 1993.

KEYWORDS: Foreign Object Damage; FOD; Family Of Foreign Object Damage Mitigation Equipment; F2ME; Debris Removal; Expeditionary; Airfield Surfacing Materials; AM2; Aircraft Surfaces 

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