Air Force operational energy had a breakthrough year > Air Force > Article display

2021 has proven to be a pivotal year for Air Force Operational Energy as the programs received unprecedented support, allowing many long-awaited initiatives to get the green light and move into the next stage of development.

“An enormous amount of effort led up to this year where we were able to secure funding for operational energy efficiency programs vital to the future of the Air Force,” said Roberto Guerrero, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force Operational Energy. “These initiatives make a lot of sense. They improve our capabilities, reduce our costs, mitigate our logistical fuel supply risks, and increase readiness and lethality. These initiatives also support the administration’s focus on climate,” he continued. “We hope this will spark even more interest in optimizing the Air Force through operational energy initiatives.”

Here are some of the ways the Air Force has optimized the use of aviation fuel and worked to mitigate operational risk over the past year:

FY22 Energy Efficiency Operational Programs Funded
In previous years, the Department of the Air Force relied on supplemental funding from Congress to pay for all operational energy programs. However, the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden in December and pending appropriation in 2022, has allocated $49 million in funding for operational energy initiatives in the United States. Air Force.

The new money flow will begin to fund low-cost, high-return on-investment aerodynamic technologies such as
Microvanes or Finlets on C-17 Globemaster III, KC-135 Stratotanker and C-130 Hercules, KC-135vertical wiperscontrol surface rigging analysis across the mobility fleet and propulsion maintenance initiatives.

It will also fund an education and training program launched this month, known asExcellence in Mission Execution Programwhich aims to educate Airmen about operational energy challenges and encourage more fuel-efficient behavior.

For the pilot phase, MEEP will focus on the Air Force’s largest fuel consumers, the C-17s, as well as other airframes, and will train pilots, operational planners, maintainers and logisticians on how improve energy efficiency during missions and training. .

Set the standard for logistical realism in wargaming
The DAF extended logistical realism in the planning and execution of the Chief of the Air Staff’s Title 10 wargame, Global Engagement 2021/2022, setting a new standard of play for playing in air power scenarios with logistical constraints.

Subject matter expertise combined with advances in modeling and simulation enabled participants from all services, including special operations forces, to assess the capability to support logistics operations – from deployment and sustainment of the force to recovery from force attrition and logistics network disruption.

Although COVID-19 has postponed the execution of GE 21, the wargaming team plans to implement the logistics advancements in GE 22, Futures Game 22, Future Air Mobility Tabletop Exercise 22, and Long Duration Logistics Wargame 23.

The exercises will help inform critical decisions about forward capabilities, future force postures, and investment strategies at the senior leadership level to include a more informed understanding of fuel logistics supply chain issues.

Expanded fuel consumption data pipeline to all Air Force aircraft
Prior to the Air Force Operational Energy Data Strategy, first introduced in 2018, there was little information about how aviation fuel was used across the force.

As of December 2021, the Air Force now collects and analyzes data from 57% of total aircraft fuel burn to better detect efficiency gaps and operational risks while enabling timely and automated access. near-real to mission-related data.

For example, exit-level data analysis revealed that some heavy aircraft land with up to 30,000 pounds more fuel than needed on average, even accounting for diverted fuel.

Along with the heavier weight, carrying excess fuel increases fuel consumption by 3.5% per year and puts additional strain on cells, resulting in increased maintenance hours and reduced fuel efficiency. state of readiness.

By identifying the root cause of these practices, the Air Force will be able to fund solutions that address non-optimized mission execution and thereby increase readiness and lethality.

Funded and supported scheduling software to support Airmen and service members
gratinga mobile and collaborative planning software tool, has successfully transitioned from a wing level to a major command level effort.

Launched as a product of Tron Air Force, an Airman-led software and enablement organization in Hawaii, Puckboard is now fully owned and operated by Air Mobility Command and is transitioning to a registration program at long term.

It has seen tremendous growth and adoption throughout 2021, growing from just over 100 users to 15,000 and planning more than 100,000 events for 383 organizations in just one year, according to Captain Christian Brechbuhl and Major Eric Robinson, government officials of the effort.

The tool, informed by user operational inputs, allows planners to match aircraft commanders, pilots and loadmasters to available flights that meet changing requirements such as air-to-air refueling and tactical training events .

thedigital interfaceallows members to view flight schedules while accounting for required qualifications, crew preferences and crew rest, as well as log training data from electronic flight bags, quickly view training logging issues and soon to automatically feed this data to the Aviation Resource Management System.

Over the past year, the team has released 35 major features, including Puckboard Logging for post-mission documents, and now supports users from Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command, Forces Pacific Air Forces, United States Air Forces in Europe, Air Force Special Operations Command, United States. Space Force and the Marine Corps.

KC-135 gets new fan duct panels
In 2021, Air Force Operational Energy began a program in partnership with the Advanced Power Technology Office to acquire new fan duct panels on the KC-135, replacing a legacy repair method that reduced airflow and, therefore, decreased engine efficiency while adding significant maintenance. burden.

The new fan ducts will improve airflow and engine performance, saving over $1 million per year in fuel costs and are expected to reach over $5.5 million per year when implemented. implemented across the fleet.

The improved ventilation ducts will also save approximately 1,700 hours of maintenance per year, representing a savings of $1.85 million, which is expected to rise to $9 million per year as more panels need to be replaced. .

Demonstrated how 21st century washing methods improve engine life and power
Air Force Operational Energy identified and sponsored AeroCore Technologies LLC for an AFWERX Small Business Innovation Research Award to demonstrate how nucleated foam washing on Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22 Osprey engines reduces fuel consumption and exhaust gas temperature, reduces maintenance costs, lowers carbon emissions and extends time on the wing.

The results showed a significant improvement in performance of more than 5% on average, leading to the expansion of washing on AFSOC C-130 platforms.

Fuel flow data from the AFSOC C-130s involved in the program show improved aircraft fuel efficiency and, if applied to all Air Force C-130s, would result in reduced annual fuel costs. $7 million.

Separately, we tested the effect of adding detergent to the standard aircraft water wash on Air National Guard KC-135s at Rickenbacker Air Force Base, Ohio, resulting in a significant reduction in engine temperature.

Additionally, we pursued an engine wash contract amendment covering the KC-135, C-5 Galaxy, B-52 Stratofortress and E-3 Sentry aircraft, which will take place in 2022.

This change will help collect data and perform follow-up testing between nucleated foam and detergent washing, allowing the Air Force to conduct a business case for different washing methods on large engines to broadband.

Air Force Operational Energy seeks to optimize Air Force operations and improve combat capability through operational energy solutions, innovative technologies, and data-driven processes.

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