FRIDAY FOTO (July 13, 2012)

July 13, 2012 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

Cockpit Challenge

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Randall Black, an HC-130H Hercules cargo plane pilot, flies over the Bering Sea en route to Operation Arctic Shield. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)

This week’s FRIFO performs double duty. It gives an inside view of all the gauges, displays and switches that pilots of the HC-130H have to monitor to get where they’re going (always a popular topic with 4GWAR visitors). It also highlights this year’s Operation Arctic Shield exercise in the Far North of Alaska.

Arctic Shield, which runs until October is an exercise to determine what capabilities the Coast Guard needs to ensure it can respond to search and rescue or disaster relief missions — like an oil spill — in the harsh Arctic environment. With polar sea ice melting and the world’s thirst for fossil fuel sources of energy growing, more activity is expected in Arctic waters in the near future, including: oil and gas drilling, commercial fishing, tourism and trans-oceanic cargo transport.

But the nearest Coast Guard station to the Arctic is in Kodiak, Alaska – thousands of miles away. The Coast Guard’s only ice breaking vessel is even farther away, so during the summer  and early fall, Arctic Shield will deploy a temporary Coast Guard air station at Barrow, Alaska on the Arctic Sea.

Fixed wing aircraft as well as two HH-60 Jayhawk helicopters will be deployed in and around Barrow and Coast Guard cutters will be on patrol at sea.

The photo below shows the big four-engine Hercules at Kodiak.

Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

To see a Defense Department slideshow of preparations for Arctic Shield, click here.

For other photos, click here.

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Entry filed under: Aircraft, Arctic, FRIDAY FOTO, International Relief, Photos, Skills and Training, Technology, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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