Foreign object debris isn’t just a problem for civilian aviation. It also impacts military aircraft, putting important operations and very expensive aircraft at risk. Military installations need a reliable solution to help combat FOD.

Foreign object debris consists of any foreign articles that can cause damage to an aircraft. Some FOD hazards include ice, hail, aircraft tools or components, and other runway debris, wildlife strikes, sand storms, and litter. When FOD comes into contact with parts of an aircraft, particularly its engines, it can cause considerable damage and may result in a crash.

Data collected by the U.S. Air Force reveals that incidents involving FOD cost the service around $240 million between 1995 and 2004. In this time period, Air Force aircraft were involved in nearly 800 FOD events. The average cost of an FOD event was around $300,000. Costs of FOD have only increased in the years after this study was conducted, as the price tag of military aircraft continues to climb.

Jet engines are particularly vulnerable to FOD because of the way they’re designed. Jet engines suck air into the engine to provide oxygen needed for combustion. Unfortunately, air isn’t the only thing that gets sucked into engines. Aircraft components that fell off other planes, litter, dead animals, and even live animals are sometimes sucked into jet engines.

The U.S. military uses jet engines for its swift fighters and bombers, so keeping these engines safe from FOD is key to operational effectiveness and keeping maintenance and repair costs down.

In addition to normal sources of FOD, military installations must also be prepared to deal with FOD caused by missile strikes intended to ground planes by destroying runways or littering them with so much FOD that they become unusable.

FOD control, Protecting Military Aircraft from FOD


Military installations have a number of FOD control options, including FOD*BOSS. FOD*BOSS, a mat-like device towed behind motorized vehicles, offers military installations a number of benefits, including:

  • Easy to deploy. All maintenance personnel must do to deploy the FOD*BOSS is attach it to the back of a motorized vehicle. The vehicle then tows FOD*BOSS over areas needing to be cleared, and brushes and scoops on the device pick up FOD.
  • Motorized vehicles can quickly cover any ground needing to be cleared with the FOD*BOSS, reducing the amount of time needed to clear runways and other air installation surfaces.
  • The FOD*BOSS is constructed for multiple uses over the long haul.
  • The FOD*BOSS will catch nearly all FOD on a site.

The U.S. military relies on its air assets to achieve wartime goals with a minimal loss of U.S. life. Protecting these invaluable assets from preventable harm is a major priority, and the FOD*BOSS is an excellent tool to accomplish this goal.

Aerosweep makes the FOD*BOSS and has been developing FOD solutions for decades. Aerosweep is a well-known FOD solutions firm, and its products are used at civilian airports and military installations around the world.