Hooked

U.S. Air Force airmen from the 177th Fighter Wing reset a cable during a cable arrester system exercise, Nov. 14, at Atlantic City International Airport, N.J. The system, which is tested once a year, can aid any tailhook equipped aircraft to stop safely in the event of a failure of the braking systems. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht/Released)

U.S. Air Force airmen from the 177th Fighter Wing reset a cable during a cable arrester system exercise, Nov. 14, at Atlantic City International Airport, N.J. The system, which is tested once a year, can aid any tailhook equipped aircraft to stop safely in the event of a failure of the braking systems. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht/Released)

An airman from the 177th Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Department awaits a signal during a test of the runway aircraft arrest system Nov. 14, 2013, at the 177th Fighter Wing at Atlantic City Air National Guard Base, N.J. The arrest system is used to stop aircraft in the event of a brake failure and must be tested yearly. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman First Class Shane Karp/Released)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ryan Brennan from the 177th Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Department awaits a signal during a test of the runway aircraft arrest system Nov. 14, 2013, at the 177th Fighter Wing at Atlantic City Air National Guard Base, N.J. The arrest system is used to stop aircraft in the event of a brake failure and must be tested yearly. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman First Class Shane Karp/Released)

A U.S. Air Force F-16D Fighting Falcon from the New Jersey Air National Guard's 177th Fighter Wing "Jersey Devils" piloted by Maj. Jason Halvorsen catches an arrestor cable with it's tailhook on runway 31 at Atlantic City International Airport, N.J., Nov. 14, during an exercise.  The system, which is tested once a year, can aid any tailhook equipped aircraft to stop safely in the event of a failure of the braking systems.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht/Released)

A U.S. Air Force F-16D Fighting Falcon from the New Jersey Air National Guard's 177th Fighter Wing "Jersey Devils" piloted by Maj. Jason Halvorsen catches an arrestor cable with it's tailhook on runway 31 at Atlantic City International Airport, N.J., Nov. 14, during an exercise. The system, which is tested once a year, can aid any tailhook equipped aircraft to stop safely in the event of a failure of the braking systems. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht/Released)

ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.J. -- U.S. Air Force airmen from the 177th Fighter Wing's Civil Engineering Squadron performed testing on their aircraft arrest system here.

The system is used to rapidly decelerate an aircraft in the event of an emergency brake failure or on short runways which may not offer the distance required for a traditional landing.

"If an aircraft is coming in and cannot stop in time, it's important that the cables are able to bring them to an abrupt stop," said Senior Master Sgt. Brian Alexander, the base fire chief.

The importance of the aircraft arrest system extends well beyond the 177th FW and is used everywhere from Navy aircraft carriers to deployed environments overseas, said Alexander.

The arresting cables must be operational for every flight that takes place on base and is certified by the Civil Engineering Squadron once per year.