MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. --
Pilots and aircrew from the 22nd Air Refueling Wing are set to commence KC-46A Pegasus training utilizing the Airfield Marking Patterns (AMP)-3 system.
Airfield Marking Patterns (AMP) are a system of designations that differentiate between the various types of airfield markings. AMPs are essentially visual aids used to guide pilots and aircrew during takeoff and landing on airfields. There are four standard types of airfield marking patterns, designated AMP-1 through AMP-4.
“AMP-3 is important because it gives flexible options for landing when traditional runways are unavailable,” said Maj. Steven Strickland, 22nd Operations Support Squadron chief of wing tactics. “We are working with airfield management to set up our AMP-3 system on runway 01R/19L to conduct both day and night training.”
AMP-3 is a specific type of airfield marking pattern that is used for unconventional airfields and landing zones without traditional airfield lighting.
AMP-3 reduces the number of panels and lights used in AMPs 1 and 2 to support day or night tactical airlift requirements. Under AMP-3, the area which indicates where a pilot can land and where the end of the usable runway is, is referred to as the box or “the Box and One.” This is for runway identification only and the standard box length should be 500 feet. The box length may be 500 ft or 1000 ft depending on the tactical situation and the box length may be 200 ft for light tactical fixed wing aircraft.
At night, AMP training must consider the challenges posed by reduced visibility, including low light conditions, glare, and shadows. Personnel are trained on the placement and function of these lighting systems, as well as the use of night vision equipment to enhance visibility.
AMP training at night must also consider the effects of weather conditions such as fog, rain, and snow, which can further reduce visibility. Personnel are trained to recognize and adapt to these conditions and use appropriate techniques and equipment to ensure safe airfield operations.
“This type of training helps airfield management, and the pilots of the KC-46, to prepare for a near-peer fight with whoever that might be,” said Capt. Adam Solomon, 22nd Operations Support Squadron airfield operations flight commander. “There may be a time when crews must land in unconventional areas, on unmarked runways, and this type of training ensures that our crew will be prepared for that type of scenario.”
A critical piece of equipment used for night training are Phantom ALZ-15 portable landing zone lights; a type of lighting system used for AMP training and other military aviation applications. These lights are designed to provide a reliable and portable source of illumination for airfield operations, especially during low-light or night-time conditions.
One of the key advantages of the Phantom ALZ-15 lights is their compatibility with night vision devices (NVDs). Pilots and other airfield personnel wearing NVDs can easily spot the lights, which emit a near-infrared wavelength that is visible to NVDs, but not to the naked eye. This allows for safe and effective operations in low-light or night-time conditions, without compromising the effectiveness of the night vision equipment.
The lights can be used to mark the edges of runways and taxiways, create landing zones, and mark other important areas of the airfield. The lights can also be set to different flashing patterns to help pilots differentiate between different areas and avoid confusion.
In addition to training on AMP-3 specifically, pilots and aircrew must also be trained on other airfield marking patterns and visual aids. This includes understanding the different colors and shapes of runway lights, as well as other markings such as hold lines, taxiway markings, and runway end identifier lights.
“When the exercise is complete, McConnell will have become the first tanker base to utilize the AMP-3 system with the KC-46,” said Solomon. “The KC-46 enterprise will have made yet another significant leap in advancing its operational capabilities, further expanding the boundaries of what both the aircraft and crew can achieve.”