PRE-ENGINEERED STRUCTURES: SHORT AIRFIELD
FOR TACTICAL SUPPORT
The Short Airfield for Tactical Support (SATS) is
a rapidly constructed expeditionary airfield that can
be erected near a battle area to provide air support for
amphibious Marine forces. In any land-and-sea
military/contingency operation, the rapid assembly of
a temporary airfield provides ground units with the
distinct advantage of continuous air support on foreign
soil. Because of this, the Marine Corps has been trying
several types of expeditionary airfields since early in
World War II. Initial research used wooden planking
for the runway surface. Later, during the Korean
Conflict, aircraft actually landed on pierced steel mats,
known as Marston matting.
One of the more important breakthroughs in SATS
research was the development of Short Expeditionary
Landing Field (SELF). SELF, a bulky predecessor of
SATS, was a 4,000-foot runway that served as the
landing area. In earlier expeditionary arresting
operations, the Marine Corps had been successful with
the M-2 Mobile Arresting Gear (MOREST).
However, the weight of this gear (74,000 pounds)
decreased its usefulness as a portable unit.
In 1956, the Commandant of the Marine Corps
established exact specifications for the development
of a portable expeditionary airfield. This proposed
airfield was to be 1,000 feet long, construction
completed in 5 days, and capable of accommodating
one squadron of aircraft for 30 days. Additionally, the
Marine Corps required that the field be designed to
allow both launch and recovery (arresting) operations.
These standards included the development of a
land-based catapult and lighter arresting gear to
replace the M-2 MOREST. In 1958, the runway
specification was expanded to 2,000 feet and received
official SATS designation. However, because the
catapult and arresting gear are no longer available in
the ABFC (Advanced Base Functional Components)
System, they are not discussed in this chapter.
Because Steelworkers can be assigned to crews
assigned to place airfield matting, we will discuss the
important parts of SATS. Also, the proper placement
procedures for AM-2 matting are discussed and
information is also provided on the installation and
repair and removal of AM-2 mating.
PARTS OF SATS FIELD
A SATS field incorporates numerous parts. We
will not attempt to cover all the parts of a SATS
installation but will cover enough to make you
familiar with the function of each of the major parts
that make a SATS field an effective system.
The AM-2 mat (fig. 1 l-l) is a fabricated
aluminum panel, 1 1/2 inches thick that contains a
hollow, extruded, one-piece main section with
extruded end connectors welded to each end. (AM-2
mats may also be fabricated in two- and three-piece
main panel extrusions that, when welded
longitudinally, form the same size and shape as the
one-piece extrusion.) The AM-2 mat comes in full
sheets and half sheets and is painted Marine Corps
green. The top surface is coated with a nonskid
material of the same color. For runways and taxiways,
the mats are installed in a brickwork type of pattern.
The staggered joint arrangement provides the required
stability across the runway and the necessary
flexibility in the direction of aircraft travel.
Figure 11-1.AM-2 mat.