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Andersen adds revamped instrument landing system capabilities

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
After nearly three years of planning and more than a year and a half of construction, more than 15 Airmen from the 36th Communications Squadron with support from various agencies, including the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron, Air Force Flight Standards Agency, Air Force Communications Agency and several civilian contractors, recently completed a $6.1 million project to install four state-of-the-art Instrument Landing Systems on Andersen's airfield. 

Before the installation of the four newer Selex 2100 Series systems, the flightline contained only one Instrument Landing System, severely limiting Andersen's options for landing aircraft during the frequent rainstorms associated with Guam. 

"Adding the newer systems allows pilots to utilize any one of four available landing approaches in bad weather," said Tech. Sgt. Jarrett Blea, noncommissioned officer in charge of airfield systems. "We are the first base in Pacific Air Forces to switch to these newer systems." 

The system is made up of two components, the Localizer and the Glideslope. The Localizer transmits horizontal data to an aircraft on approach while the Glideslope provides vertical data enabling the pilot to pinpoint the location of the runway while flying in inclement weather. 

"The data processed by the aircraft acts as crosshairs for pilots so they can land safely during periods of bad weather and reduced visibility," said Staff Sgt. Bryan Thomas, 36th CS airfield systems technician. 

Aside from the money spent on the project, the key players involved devoted countless man-hours on top of their primary responsibilities to ensure the project was completed as expediently and safely as possible. The Airmen from the 36th CS worked 12-hour days on the airfield in all weather conditions. 

"When you're working on a 60-foot tower and it starts to rain, you really don't have many options on where to go," said Master Sgt. Terrell Vinson, who was part of the 36th CS quality assurance team. "The rain creates slip hazards in addition to the danger of falling from the tower." 

Adding the newer equipment also improves response capabilities for the 36th CS Airmen who troubleshoot the equipment. 

"Having remote access cuts down our after-hours response times by nearly 90 percent," said Staff Sgt. Curtis Rhodes, 36th CS airfield systems technician. "We can now dial into the system from home and solve issues within minutes instead of making the trip on-site to resolve problems. It's more convenient because it can take up to an hour to get to the right location on the airfield before you even begin to diagnose the problem." 

The hard work and dedication of the 36th CS, 36th CES and other agencies responsible for completing this project yields significantly improved capabilities in support of the Theater Security Package and Continuous Bomber Presence. 

"All this work ultimately supports our wing's flying mission," Sergeant Blea said. "The biggest victory for us is we now have an instrument-controlled 24 approach to Andersen AFB."