Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Iraq: Keeping Military Helicopters Safe From Dust...With Rhino Snot

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq — Marines in Anbar province are up against more than insurgents. They have another potentially deadly "enemy" that can’t be killed, only contained.

They call it "moon dust," a baby powder-fine sand that can cause havoc when helicopters land.

Rotor backwash can kick up so much of the dust that it causes a brownout, obscuring the landing.

Upon their arrival from Okinawa to Al Asad Air Base in the spring, Marine Wing Support Squadron 172’s combat engineers were charged with managing the hazard at the temporary landing pads the squadron is building throughout Anbar.

The task was a first for the air support squadron, said 1st Lt. Emma Frowine, commander of the squadron’s Engineer Operations Company. Dust abatement is something normally done by ground support crews, she added.

So, they turned to a solution used by others — "Rhino Snot."

Rhino Snot, the nickname for Envirotac II, is a glue-like substance used to harden the earth.

Troops first used it at a base in Yuma, Ariz., in the late 1990s. In 2002, it was put into use at Camp Rhino in Afghanistan, according to manufacturer Environmental Products & Applicacations Inc.’s Web site. At Camp Rhino, Marines started calling the goo "rhino snot," a moniker the company trademarked.

Click the link for the rest. Apparently the stuff is a pain in the ass to apply and be around until it dries, rather like Super Glue.

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