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Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources (BEAR)

The purpose of the Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources (BEAR) Program is to give the Combat Air Forces increased mobility and strike capability. Management intended to preposition program assets in, or close, to the area of intended use. The BEAR equipment was designated as War Reserve Material (WRM). Air Force (AF) BEAR Mobility Equipment, better known as Harvest Falcon (HF) and Harvest Eagle (HE), is designed and sized to support simultaneous Major Theater Wars (MTW) and the equipment provides theater war fighters billeting, industrial, and air field capability to support a total of 68,200 combat troops and 822 aircraft at austere locations, building complete bases from the ground up.

The Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources (BEAR) was formerly called the Bare Base program. The Air Staff changed the name in FY02 to BEAR to reflect the expeditionary nature of the program's mission and to emphasize its critical role in the Expeditionary Air Force (EAF) of today. A Bare Base was defined as one with adequate runways, taxiways, parking aprons or land area available to construct expedient aprons, and a water supply that could be made potable.

The concept of the bare base is more important now than ever before. While many foreign countries resist development of major fixed installations on their soil, they continue to be subject to internal and external aggression. As a rule, these underdeveloped nations possess runways, taxiways, and air terminal facilities which could be offered to our forces during contingency situations. In fact, there are some 1,200 such bare bases in the world which could support air operations even though many are limited and inadequate.

The present mobility concept is to rapidly deploy a force, complete with shelters and support facilities, capable of independently supporting and launching sustained combat operations with the same independence as fixed theater installations. The nucleus of the bare base infrastructure centers around the enhanced version of earlier mobile base packages now known as Harvest Eagle and Harvest Falcon. All facilities and equipment within the packages are designed to minimize weight, to maximize modular design, and to be C-130 transportable. Some shelters are hard-wall and serve as their own shipping containers. Some hardware items interface with weapons systems while others are concerned with transportation, housing, messing, aircraft maintenance, airfield lighting, power, water, sewage, heating, cooling, medical, and civil engineering needs. By design, these packages have everything necessary to support a deployed force in the most austere environments.

The new BEAR Program provided a complex of lightweight air transportable assets used to erect a mobile air base. This program was directed by HQ/USAF Program Management Directive (PMD) 2054, managed by Air Force Installation and Logistics' Directorate of Resources Combat Support Division (USAF/ILPR). The Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources (BEAR) Integrated Process Team (BIPT) is responsible for ensuring AF BEAR capability meets DoD mission needs consistent with supported command requirements and overall AF and DOD policy and programming guidance for BEAR and related systems indicated in PMD 2054.

The current programs were derivatives of the 1960s technology Harvest Bare Program but were lighter in weight and less lift intensive.

Three sub-sets comprised the program.
  • Harvest FalconHarvest Falcon (HF) consisted primarily of four types of shelters, an electrical system, a water system; airfield lighting system, kitchens, latrines and maintenance equipment sets. The shelters were designed to either fold up or be rapidly disassembled and fill the requirements for maintenance shops, offices, hangars, and billets. The system was self-contained and includes all equipment and items necessary for the performance of all base functions. As of 2002 the HF consisted of 50 1100-person Housekeeping, 15 Industrial Operations, 15 Initial Flight line and 25 Follow-on Flight line sets.
  • Harvest Eagle (HE) consisted primarily of personnel support housekeeping assets including billeting, messing, sanitation and associated mobile power. As of 2002 the HE was comprised of 24 550-person Housekeeping sets with associated utility support.
  • Contingency Support Packages (CSPs) virtually mirrored the capability of Harvest Eagle but consisted of older generation assets. The systems were designed to be ready for deployment within 72 hours. As of 2002 a total of 36 CSPs primarily supported Pacific Air Forces (PACAF).

In FY02, this program represented the sustainment phase of the life cycle with modernization accomplished during new procurements when possible. For FY02, the BEAR Program received $120 million in total budget authority. Further, a $27 million Congressional appropriation procured 30 National Stock Numbers (NSNs). With a supplemental $10 million for FY02 in July, they procured 28 NSNs. A supplemental for FY01 of $10 million procured 15 NSNs. The program received $73 million in September from the Defense Emergency Relief Fund with which they purchased 82 NSNs. During the fiscal year, they deployed one Industrial Operations Set for OEF. They returned six housekeeping sets, two initial flight line sets, and four flight line follow-on sets to Fully Mission Capable status.

Agile Combat Support (ACS) systems provide beddown for aircraft, support equipment, and forces at both main operating bases and contingency operating locations, which may have only a runway and a water source. They also offer crucial utilities, runway stabilization and repair, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), rescue and recovery aids, aeromedical evacuation and treatment equipment; and security and reconnaissance capabilities to support aircraft deployment, launch, recovery and regeneration.

Lighter-weight, rapidly deployable equipment has become essential in supporting numerous global contingencies such as DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, Provide Comfort, Restore Hope, Joint Endeavor, and Enduring Freedom for security, base defense, relief efforts, and special operations throughout the world. Specific ACS capabilities being developed include: power generation and distribution systems to reduce airlift; deployable medical grade oxygen generation systems; a family of deployable shelters to be used as aircraft hangars, maintenance facilities, heavy equipment storage, Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) operations, medical and personnel shelters, systems to repair runway damage, and Joint Service (Army-led) test, evaluation and acquisition of protective systems, and equipment to be used by Air Force EOD technicians for reconnaissance and mine clearing missions.

ACC/DRM/CEX [Contingency Support Directorate (CEX)] jointly develop/approve requirements supporting Civil Engineering Readiness and Capabilities Enhancement initiatives, such as Explosive Ordnance Disposal robotics programs. The AAC/YBC Agile Combat Support (ACS) Program Office initiates SDD following receipt of applicable Capabilities Development Documents from those agencies.

The Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resource (BEAR) Systems Readiness Board (BSRB) evaluates laboratory and commercial technologies with application for modernization of BEAR assets, such as deployable shelters, power, waste treatment and airfield support systems. With ACC/DRM/LGX/CEX direction and BEAR Program Office approval, the AAC/YBC ACS Program Office initiates SDD, and ACC/LGX aligns BEAR production funding within PE41135F to support modernization of assets. Initiation of SDD includes all 6.4 activities leading up to contract award and subsequent test and evaluation culminating in a Milestone C production decision.

Harvest Bare

The Air Force's mobility commitment in the post-World War II era required a capability to rapidly deploy aircraft, complete with supporting functions and facilities, capable of independently supporting and launching sustained combat operations with the same independence as fixed theater installations. However, it became clear that certain nations that might request assistance from the US Air Force would balk at the construction of permanent bases or facilities on their territory.

The answer was a basing system that could be transportable quickly erected capable of supporting air operations, and could be quickly dismantled. The Air Force had to become capable of operating from a bare base. The classic definition of a bare base was a site with a usable runway taxiway parking areas and a source of water that can be made potable. A bare base required mobile facilities, utilities, and support equipment that could rapidly transform undeveloped real estate into an operational air base.

The Air Force expanded its mobility basing concept with Harvest Bare, a new set of facilities that were lightweight, modular, and designed to be C-130 transportable. Some of the facilities were designed to be hardwall and would serve as their own shipping containers. The Air Force tested and validated the Harvest Bare design in 1970.

The Harvest Bare equipment has undergone several generations of modernization. Harvest Bare centers around hard-wall construction and modern technology. Besides housekeeping, this package includes vehicular support, general aircraft maintenance, specific weapon systems, and a broad base of logistics support for sustained operations of a 4,500-person wing. Harvest Bare is usually reserved for deployments of extended duration.

Harvest Bare structures included the expandable personnel shelters (EXPs). These units featured accordion-like walls and when expanded reached 13 feet 7 inches by 32 feet. However when contracted, each unit functioned as a shipping container 8 feet 8 inches by 13 feet to facilitate shipment. The Air Force used these units as billets' office space, exchanges, and storage areas. The expandable shelter container could be used for flightline shops' industrial shops, and power plant control rooms.

Other common structures available for use in Operation Desert Shield included General Purpose Shelters. These hardwall structures served as gymnasiums, clubs, warehouses, and exchanges at the sites.

One of the most interesting looking structures was the Harvest Bare Aircraft Maintenance Hangar, known as a clamshell hangar because of its unique fabric end closures. This seventy-six-foot structure was used for aircraft and vehicle maintenance' weapons loading' and even a base theater. Members of the 4449th Mobility Support Squadron, Holloman AFB, New Mexico normally accompanied the hangar to assist in erecting it.

With the Avionics Mobile Facilities (AMF) in the standard configuration, the Type IV Precision Measurement Equipment laboratory (PMEL) Integration Units (INUs) are situated off of the main walkways of the AMF. The purpose of this is to restrict movement through the calibration areas. This reduces disruption of the calibration and maintenance process and reduces potential exposure of personnel to hazards associated with the maintenance and calibration of Precision Measurement Equipment (PME).

Prior to setting up the AMF in it's present location, alternative sites were evaluated. None were found to be suitable. To accommodate the AMF at the present local, the AMF is in a modified TAB-V configuration due to constraints of available space. This required the PMEL vans to be placed in the central corridor of the AMF.

With the PMEL situated in this high traffic area, technicians are continually having their work and concentration disrupted to enable avionics personnel to pass through. This is highly undesirable when working with intricate procedures and elaborate equipment set-ups. This also increases the potential for costly mistakes on critical wing assets.

Denial of passage is a must at times due to the hazardous nature of some calibrations. During those times, avonics personal must gain access to other areas of the facility by unlocking a second door which does not have a cipher lock. This decreases the integrity of the AMC as a "Limited Access Area". Two of the hazards are air and oil pressure up to 10,000 psi and voltages up to 19,000 volts AC and DC. Addditionally, the facilities must be evacuated, bringing all maintenance in the AMF to a halt, dudring calibration and maintenance of Emergency Power Unit test sets to avert accidental hydrazine contamination of personnel by an improperly purged test set.




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