Incirlik Safety Launches First-of-its-Kind Response Team in USAFE-AFAFRICA

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brandt Self
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 39th Air Base Wing Safety office at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, is home to the only Bird and Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Strike Team in U.S Air Forces in Europe.

The BASH Strike Team's goal is to rapidly and safely disperse birds and other wildlife away from the airfield to prevent potential damage to aircraft using readily available tools and within the parameters of local laws.

"USAFE has taken an interest, and other units are looking to replicate it, but we're the only ones doing BASH like this," Lt. Col. Andrew Baer, 39th ABW chief of safety, said.

The BASH Strike Team is always on call and ready to respond within 20 minutes to clear the flight line of wildlife for planes to depart and arrive safely. They use multiple wildlife dissuasion tools including a long-range acoustic hailing device, which works as a focused speaker, and a non-lethal laser system.

“While serving in Turkey we strive to be good environmental stewards and must respect host nation laws which protect birds and wildlife. Therefore we use methods like speakers and high-powered lights to disperse birds safely from the airfield” Baer explained.

He noted that his team has studied the bird migration patterns, and that Incirlik Air Base is located on a major migratory route. He also explained that the birds are most active during BASH Phase Two, which he identified as “the time period when increased wildlife activity raises the threat to the aircraft operating to and from Incirlik Air Base.” He added that, based on long-standing records of historical data, Incirlik AB enters this increased state of awareness and readiness from March to July, and again from October to November.

"In October to November 2021, we delivered Incirlik's lowest BASH Phase Two bird strike rate in six years... One key reason is the BASH Strike Team," Baer said.