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About AM-2 Matting

Expeditionary Airfields (EAFs) are mobile systems that enable the United States military to project airpowers worldwide. EAFs offer more flexibility in staging grounds, operations bases and campaign strategy. EAFs are composed of three integral systems - AM-2 Aluminum Matting, Portable Aircraft Arresting Gear and Marking (lighting) Systems. AM-2 matting is the base upon which the entire EAF system rests.

AM-2 matting consists of 1 1/2" x 2' steel rectangles coated with a epoxy nonskid material, available in both 6 and 12 foot lengths, and are assembled in a brickwork pattern to form runways, taxiways, parking and other areas required for aircraft operations and maintenance. Thirty ISO containers can be constructed to form a 1,500 square foot vertical, short landing and take off airfield and can accommodate up to a total of eleven CH53, UH1, AH1 and AV8B aircraft. AM-2 matting forms the foundation that allows military commanders to configure an airfield to ever-changing front line conditions.

CASS Services currently has contracts with the Naval Air Warfare Center to re-manufacture AM-2 Matting and manufacture accessory items for EAF activities. Under this re-manufacture contract, CASS cleans, repairs and re-coats the AM-2 matting with an epoxy, nonskid coating. The epoxy, nonskid coating is specifically formulated to withstand the rigors imposed on EAFs by today's high power jets, heavy transport aircraft and arresting hook impact.

Expeditionary Airfields

Expeditionary Airfields (EAFs) are portable airfields that can be constructed, used, broken down after the completion of a mission and moved to another site for re-use. The development of EAF technologies and the storage of these assets on MPF ships has reduced the US deployment time to any theatre of operations in the world from 9-10 weeks to 2-3 weeks and allows for changing front line conditions.

Originally made of pierced steel planks (PSP), portable runways were first used during the critical campaigns toward the end of WWII. Portable runways made possible the United States strategy of island hopping during these campaigns. Although PSP worked well with the aircraft of the WWII era, PSP could not endure the rigors placed on it by the post WWII generation of jet aircraft. PSP simply could not withstand the heavier wheel loads and impact of this new class of aircraft. AM-2 Matting was developed to meet this need.

By the time of the Vietnam War, AM-2 Matting and EAFs were in full service to both the Airforce and Marine Corps with over 10 million square feet of matting in use. It was during this time that the use of AM-2 Matting was expanded from its traditional use in SATS (Short Airfield for Tactical Support) to include small helicopter pads (72 feet square) which could be constructed in otherwise unprepared areas. These small helicopter pads later evolved into landing pads for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) sites for non-helo aircraft with vertical flight capabilities.

EAFs are constructed on-site by the Marine's Wing Support Squadron and Navy Mobile Construction Battalions. Edge clamps, cruciform stakes and earth anchors are used to secure the AM-2 Matting to the ground once it has been properly laid out. Once the AM-2 Matting is securely installed, the portable aircraft arresting gear and marking systems are installed to form a complete airfield that enables air activity at night, in inclement weather conditions, and otherwise unprepared environments.

- Information derived from the Naval Air Warfare Center video
"United State Marine Corps Expeditionary Airfield"