Alaska Army Paratroopers Jump in Arctic Gear

16 12 2013

Spc. William Baker (left), an infantryman with Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 1-40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, works to secure his equipment in preparation for follow-on movement after successfully exiting a C-130 Hercules Alaska Air National Guard aircraft Dec. 12, 2013 at the Malemute Drop Zone at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Baker and his unit exited the aircraft from the tailgate with a full arctic combat load, demonstrating their unique ability to rapidly deploy troops into arctic environments in response to a variety of contingencies. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith/Released)

JOINT BASE ELMDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – For the first time since returning from  Afghanistan last year, U.S. Army Alaska’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team  (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division conducted an arctic airborne operation Dec.  12 from a C-130 aircraft onto JBER’s Malemute Drop Zone.

Paratroopers conducted a unique “tailgate” jump, donning the complete arctic  over-white winter uniform with ski equipment and the arctic sustainment packing  list as a rehearsal for upcoming airborne operations in northern Alaska next  year.

Read more:


Image of the Day: Alaskan Snowblower Fix

4 10 2012

Canadian Drones in Alaska’s New Unmanned High Tech Frontier

4 10 2012

An interesting story featuring a Canadian designed and built unmanned aerial vehicle being used in the Arctic.

The firm profiled is Aeryon Labs Inc. located in Waterloo, Ontario.

At first, these drones were used primarily by the military. But Alaskans are finding more and more applications for this technology. Shell Oil has used these aircraft in a pilot project, to watch out for bowhead whales while exploring for oil in the Arctic. BP is looking to use them to improve its oil spill response capabilities.

Some at the conference wondered out loud about how unmanned aircraft might have been useful in preparing for recent floods in Southcentral Alaska. They say the drones, which can fly for hours at a time, might have helped identify places where flooding was imminent.

Read the rest of this story at:

And this video showing how the Aeryon Lab Scout was used by the Libyan Rebels.

US Army Cold Weather Student Handout 2009-2010

4 02 2011

Here is a pretty good handbook produced by the US Army’s only cold weather training outfit – the Northern Warfare Training Center from Fort Wainwright Alaska.

Topics covered within this handout

699-8010 Cold Regions Terrain Analysis 1
699-8011 Cold Regions Weather Analysis 21
699-8013 Cold Weather Injury Prevention and Treatment 53
699-8015 Cold Weather and Mountain Environmental Injury Prevention and Treatment 93
699-8014 Altitude Illness Prevention and Treatment  102
699-8017 Cold Weather Risk Management 108
699-8012 Planning Considerations for Over Snow Movement 115
699-8019 Snowshoeing 136
699-8022 Sled (ahkio) Hauling 144
699-8025 Tent and Stove Drill 150
699-8026 H-45 Stove 180
699-8027 Improvised Shelters 196
699-8028 Cold Regions Patrol Base Considerations 207
699-8031 Cold Weather Vehicle Maintenance 227
699-8032 Weapons Maintenance in Cold Weather 240
699-8020 Military Skiing 252
699-8018 The Avalanche Hazard 282
699-8024 Individual Camouflage in a Snow Covered Environment 329
699-8030 Cold Weather Firing Techniques 337
699-8029 Fighting Positions for Frozen Ground 346
699-8023 Skijor 359
Appendix A Cold Weather and Mountain Equipment Information

UPDATE: F-22 Wreckage Found in Alaska, Pilot Still Missing

18 11 2010

Air Force rescue personnel have found the wreckage of what they believe to be the F-22 Raptor that went missing last night from Elmendorf Air Force base in Alaska, according to a statement put out by the service tonight.

Search and rescue crews have found the apparent wreckage of an F-22 Raptor Nov. 17 that was assigned to the 3rd Wing here.

However, the pilot is still missing.

“We’re still doing an active search for the pilot,” the AP quoted Col. Jack McMullen commander of the 3rd Wing at Elmendorf as saying. “Perhaps he ejected.”

Still, the pilot may still have a chance at survival despite the extreme Alaskan weather, McMullen told the AP.

“They have survival gear,” McMullen said. “He’s Arctic trained to survive in that environment. He’s got the gear on. He’s got stuff in his survival kit, so that he could hunker himself down and fight the extreme cold.”

McMullen provided more details on the incident in an Air Force press release.

“Last night a two-ship (flight) of F-22s, Rocky One and Rocky Three, were finished with training … about 100 miles north of here,” Colonel McMullen said.

Everything was normal until about 7:40 p.m., he said, when Rocky Three fell off the radar scope and the pilot lost communications.

“The other pilot (Rocky One) went to a tanker, got gas and then continued to look for the mishap pilot,” Colonel McMullen said. “He could not find him. At that time, the Alaska Air National Guard scrambled a C-130 and rescue helicopters. They searched the entire night.”

About 10:15 a.m., an Alaska Air National Guard helicopter found a site that fits the data and the description of where rescuers thought the mishap probably occurred, Colonel McMullen said.

“They found the crash site,” he said. “They were unable to land at the crash site and take a closer look. We scrambled another helicopter that should be in the area in the next few moments.”

Steve Trimble over at Flight Global notes that this is the second F-22 loss in little over a year, and third overall, bringing the total number of jets that will ultimately be fielded to 185, unless more are built.

The F-22 costs $143 million apiece according to the Air Force (although its critics claim the real cost is far higher) and before this latest presumed crash, the Raptor had a Class A mishap rate of six to seven per 100,000 flight hours, according to the folks at Strategy Page.

A Class A mishap is any incident involving an aircraft where over $1 million worth of damage occurs.

Source: Defence Tech

F-22 Raptor and Pilot Missing Over Alaska

17 11 2010

An F-22, based at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, over mountain terrain - Wikipedia

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A search was under way Wednesday for an overdue Air Force F-22 fighter jet based at a military facility near Anchorage.

Corinna Jones, a spokeswoman at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, said the jet was on a training mission and lost contact with air traffic control at 7:40 p.m. Tuesday. The plane carries one pilot.

The aircraft is assigned to Elmendorf’s 3rd Wing, Jones said. The Air Force has not released the pilot’s name.

The twin-engine F-22 Raptor entered service in the mid-2000s and arrived at Elmendorf in August 2007. It’s far more maneuverable and stealthy than earlier jets and can cruise at more than 1½ times the speed of sound without using its afterburner. Its top speed is confidential.

Congress last year stopped production of the plane, built by Lockheed Martin Corp., by eliminating $1.75 billion that would have added seven F-22s to the Air Force’s fleet.

An F-22 crashed in March 2009 near Edwards Air Force Base in California, killing the pilot.
Search on for military jet missing over Alaska — MSNBC
Search under way for missing F-22 fighter jet: US Air Force — AFP
Alaska military base says F-22 fighter overdue — Washington Post/AP
Alaska base searching for missing F-22 — Air Force Times

US Coast Guard Commandant: Icebreakers key to Arctic presence

8 11 2010

USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB-11) alongside her sister ship Polar Star (WAGB-10) near McMurdo Station, Antarctica. (Wikipedia CC)

The Coast Guard’s top officer says the service does not have the resources to respond to a major emergency in the Arctic and is calling for funding to repair or replace its two broken heavy icebreakers.

“We need icebreakers up [in the Arctic], and right now our icebreakers are in a sorry state,” Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp said in an Oct. 28 interview. “They need replacement or very thorough renovation to allow the United States to sustain an active presence and support our sovereignty up there.”

The need for icebreakers in the Arctic stems from the rapid disappearance of ice in those waters. More water means more shipping traffic through the Bering Strait and other Arctic waterways. It also means massive untapped mineral reserves will be available to nations that border the Arctic, including the U.S. and Russia, creating a rush to stake sovereignty claims.

The mission of protecting U.S. sovereignty and its citizens and shipping should fall to the Coast Guard, Papp said.

“That’s our responsibility,” he said. “It’s water — we’re concerned about there being more water and more activity on the water; it’s clearly a Coast Guard responsibility.

“So, I feel the need to advocate for restoring our icebreakers or replacing them.”

The service’s heavy icebreakers, Polar Star and Polar Sea, have both been sidelined.

The Coast Guard announced in July that Polar Sea had suffered an engine breakdown and would likely be out of service until January. Polar Star is undergoing repairs and renovation and will out of service until 2013.

As a result, Papp said, the Coast Guard is suffering a brain drain of sorts, losing institutional knowledge about icebreaking operations.

“Because of the condition of the icebreakers, we are rapidly losing that expertise, and we don’t have the resources to respond up there to a major emergency,” he said.

In addition to increased shipping traffic, Papp said as the ice recedes, standard Coast Guard services such as search-and-rescue missions will be required.

“I foresee greater numbers of fishing boats, even recreational boats going up there,” he said. “And we even have residents there already in towns such as Barrow [at Alaska’s northern tip].

“[These are people] who need to be supported by Coast Guard resources. We don’t have the resources right now.”

Papp said the Coast Guard had been evaluating what resources he would need to support an Arctic mission, but he noted that sending current assets up there presented a “zero-sum game.”

“If I were to put resources up there, it would have to come at the expense of another place,” he said.

Source: Navy Times

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