‘Osan! I hear the cannons roar!’
Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea -- Since 1985, bird and wildlife strikes have cost the Air Force nearly $1 billion in damages from 108,000 strikes.
The bird and animal aircraft strike hazard program is designed to preserve Osan’s warfighting capabilities through the reduction of wildlife hazards to aircraft operations.
The 51st Fighter Wing safety office added a new tool to its BASH program with 30 cannons to the flightline.
These cannons, however, don’t launch projectiles; they emit a variety of loud noises aimed to deter birds and other wildlife that might endanger pilots and the aircraft taking off or landing here.
“The cannons are an intricate part of our overall concept of keeping the airfield free of birds,” said Michael Rosen, 51st Fighter Wing BASH superintendent.
The cannons stretch from one side of the flightline to the other, providing full coverage of the air space. The cannons can make a variety of noises from large booms to wild animal distress noises to help deter Korea’s wildlife.
“Before the first aircraft of the day takes off, we activate the cannon to clear the airfield and intermittently throughout the day,” Rosen said.
The remotely-controlled cannons can be operated by both the air traffic control tower and wing safety.
“We see birds, we activate the cannon, and they tend to not to go to the same spot,” said Rosen.
With the addition of the newly installed cannons, the BASH program will continue to work toward reducing bird and wildlife strikes and increase Osan’s ability to safely launch and receive aircraft.