ŠIAULIAI AIR BASE, LT --
The Global ER-2875 de-icer is a truck used when temperatures drop below freezing, resulting in the accumulation of ice, snow, or frost on an aircraft’s surface. Glycol, an ingredient in antifreeze, is sprayed onto aircraft before a flight to ensure ice or snow has been removed, decreasing the airflow disruption and making for a safe takeoff.
The Lithuanian air force purchased the de-icer last year and was given basic guidance on how to use and operate the vehicle. However, the training did not include daily inspections, maintaining the vehicle or safety guidelines. As a result, the Lithuanian air force asked for support and was provided hands-on training by the 435th CRSS and 171st ARW.
“Communicating and learning from our U.S. allies is important, especially when dealing with our new Global ER-2875 de-icer,” said Lithuanian air force Airman 1st Class Gintaras Fokas, Terminal Operations Squadron liquid section specialist. “Not only will we become more efficient, but we will also be safer.”
Throughout the week, training encompassed in-class education covering the safety of the vehicle when de-icing aircraft, technical specifications, truck operation, emergency procedures, hands-on maintenance and operation of the basket from the ground in case of an emergency. The training concluded with a road test where Lithuanians would operate the truck while someone operated the basket at height.
“Without the in-depth training we provided, operating a truck that has the capability of reaching max heights of 78 feet can become unsafe very quickly,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Erik Silva, 435th CRSS aircraft maintenance air advisor. “When it comes to safety, it's important to be able to get that person who’s stuck in the basket down safely under emergency situations, and away from the aircraft.”
Additionally, training has provided the Lithuanian air force the capability to de-ice T-tail aircraft expanding their operations from their conventional shaped aircraft, which are smaller than a C-130J Super Hercules model, to aircraft such as the C-17 Globemaster III and C-5M Super Galaxy.
“Lithuania is one of our NATO allies in the Baltics, and we are always looking to improve upon and maintain relations with our NATO Allies, because the name of the game is interoperability, and when it comes the time we have to be able to work together and do so in a safe and efficient manner,” said Silva. “Working with the Lithuanians has been nothing short of phenomenal, they are hard-working, professional and have a strong thirst for knowledge.”
The 435th Contingency Response Group is U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa's only expeditionary open-the-base force. The group provides a scalable, cross-functional, rapidly deployable force designed to assess and open airbases and perform initial airfield operations enabling rapid standup of combat operations anywhere in the United States European Command’s Area of Responsibility.