By Wayne Lovely, Test Officer, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Public Affairs
FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Pararescue and support Airmen of the 306th Rescue Squadron (Air Force Reserve) from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. rigged, recovered, and operated the Yamaha FX SHO Advanced Rescue Craft (ARC) during operational testing here and at Oak Island, N.C.
According to Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Kress, a test non-commissioned officer with the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, the Yamaha FX SHO ARC test was a great opportunity to work with multiple services in a realistic operational environment and collect data to determine its suitability, reliability and survivability when conducting airdrop operations.
During the test, 306th Airmen spent four days working with the Senior Mechanical Engineer from the Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Command (NSRDEC), Natick, Massachusetts in developing rigging procedures for the Yamaha FX SHO ARC, for a Simulated Airdrop Impact Test (SAIT) at Kiess Lake on Fort Bragg and three airdrops at Oak Island.
The U.S. Coast Guard at Oak Island Station assisted in the recovery operation on all air drops.
“All of us here at Motor Life Boat Station Oak Island are proud to work with the Army and Air Force,” said Boatswain’s Mate Senior Chief Petty Officer, Josh Meyer, officer-in-charge at the Oak Island Station.
“Training operations like this one ensure that we are always ready to answer the call with any and all services.”
Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Brown, ABNSOTD Yamaha FX ARC Project NCO said the development of rigging procedures and conducting a SAIT is vital in determining the survivability of the Yamaha FX ARC during airdrop operations.
Tech. Sgt. Joshua Gonzales, of the 306th said, “It is great to work with the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, with the operational test, and the airdrop certification process.
Master Sgt. Sean McBride, also of the 306th said, “It is great to know that we can provide the operator’s perspective on our airdrop capability needs to meet our rescue mission requirements.”
“Operational testing is OTC’s opportunity to contribute to readiness; anything less compromises the Army’s ability to provide the forces that fight and win the Nation’s wars,” said Lt. Col. Greg Oquendo, Test Division Chief for the ABNSOTD.
“We test and assess Army, Joint, and Multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using typical users to determine whether the test item is effective, suitable, and survivable,” said Col. Brad Mock, Director of ABNSOTD.
About the U.S. Army Operational Test Command:
The U.S. Army Operational Test Command is based at West Fort Hood (Now designated Fort Cavazos), Texas, and its mission is about making sure that systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight. Test units and their Soldiers provide feedback, by offering input to improve upon existing and future systems with which Soldiers will ultimately use to train and fight.
The Fort Bragg, N.C.-based ABNSOTD plans, executes, and reports on operational tests and field experiments of Airborne and Special Operations Forces equipment, procedures, aerial delivery and air transportation systems in order to provide key operational data for the continued development and fielding of doctrine, systems or equipment to the Warfighter.