RAWS maintenance

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Marc A. Garcia
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Pubic Affairs


MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- On approach, pilots rely heavily on communication equipment to navigate safely to the runway. The Radar, Airfield and Weather Systems shop is a vital component in maintaining and servicing all the communication equipment used for aerial operations.


RAWS maintains three sections, which include radar, airfield and weather systems. The radar equipment is vital to the reconnaissance at McConnell by allowing air traffic controllers to see who is in the vicinity of the base’s airspace.


1st Lt. Eric Brittain, 22nd Operations Support Squadron flight commander, said McConnell doesn't have a radar but they work with Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport for radar support. Although there is no radar equipment on base RAWS remains current on their training by sustaining their partnership with the airport. In addition to maintaining radar equipment, RAWS also preserves airfield resources.


The airfield resources are essential in ensuring the safe departure and arrival of all McConnell’s aircraft. The Instrument Landing Systems are one of the key parts in guiding pilots to safety when returning to McConnell.


The most important navigational aid is the ILS,” said Brittain. “It is used during poor weather conditions to ensure that the aircraft is not only lined up with the runway correctly, but also on the proper glide path to the ground.” 


In addition to the specialties of radar and airfield resources, RAWS also services the weather systems along the flightline.


These systems include wind birds, ceilometers and vision sensors. Airman 1st Class Adam Worley, 22nd OSS RAWS technician, said wind birds indicate the speed and direction of the wind, ceilometers measure the height of clouds and vision sensors determine the distance in which pilots are able to see. All three track a different spectrum of the meteorological parameters.


Airman 1st Class Cory Leatherman, 22nd OSS RAWS technician, said the weather systems that his shop maintains provide continuous and punctual information. The maintenance of all three sections plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of aerial operations and refueling mission.


The consistent and vital maintenance that the RAWS shop performs directly supports safe aerial operations,” said Brittain.