HOHENFELS, Germany -- The Paratroopers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade demonstrated their ability to independently and efficiently sustain forces as part of exercise Saber Junction 16, taking place from Mar. 31 to Apr. 24, 2016. Here.
The Forward Arming and Refueling Point known as the FARP, located at the Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) strip, facilitates the fueling of aircraft and restocking of ammunition to continue providing coverage for troops on the ground.
The 173rd Brigade Support Battalion positioned the refuel point inside of their logistics support area; which acted as a depot, barracks, and transportation hub. This site provided supplied supplies, mechanics, and other personnel to the other battalions operating throughout the training area.
The FARP system is specifically designed for refueling helicopters in forward areas. It is lightweight and can be flown to the refueling point by helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft. The bulk fuel for the system is usually flown to the site in 500-gallon collapsible drums by utility or cargo helicopters.
"The FARP provides a brigade combat team the ability to execute in their own area of operation, it also allows an aviation task force to better support the brigade combat team," said Maj. Rob Newbauer, Observer Controller assigned to the Joint Multinational Readiness Center
The FARP provides support to the ground forces commander for longer periods of time. By eliminating the need to return to the main base for refueling and rearming of weapons, the Brigade is able to decrease the time required to occupy an area of operations.
"The FARP is obviously significant for continued operations in the austere environment we will be in, in the training area. Without fuel, we can't move. If we can't move, we can't go after the enemy" said Chief Warrant Officer Two Vasicek, a logistics officer assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade Support Battalion.
Saber Junction 16 provided the 173rd Airborne Brigade an opportunity to evaluate its ability to integrate augmenting capabilities. Establishing the FARP required coordination and synchronization with the 3rd Battalion 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Combat Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division to ensure aircraft mobility and effective aerial delivery of assets during tactical operations.
"Fuel resupply caters to the need of rotary wing aviation assets is ultimately the most important aspect of a FARP's operational capability," said Newbauer. "The FARP is a very important asset for the success of continued combat operations."
The advantage of managing the battlespace from an aerial prospective, adds an additional dimension of command and control. The opportunity for helicopters to refuel in theater provides a broader range of access to counter enemy maneuver and facilitate friendly attacks.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the Army Contingency Response Force in Europe, and is capable of projecting forces to conduct the full range of military operations across the U.S., European, Central and Africa Commands areas of responsibility.