Naval Power and Force Projection

Summer 2017

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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to the aviation fuel supply chain, as well as how the integration of operational energy considerations can impact the lifecycle costs of aviation platforms. Fuel supply chain vulnerabilities and solutions, including distribution and storage, are areas of focus that this office brings to the Air Force Title 10 wargames and joint analyses. Our third line of effort is Future Operations and making sure we invest in technologies that increase our combat capability while paying dividends in fuel efficiency. The most effective method for addressing operational energy in new programs is to get involved in the early stages of the requirements process. All new programs are required by statute to address operational energy through the development of an energy Key Performance Parameter (eKPP). Foundational to the eKPP is the Energy Supportability Analysis that examines the operational energy demands of the platform and the ability of the infrastructure to support the platform under the most demanding scenario. These two formal acquisition processes ensure operational energy is a consideration in Air Force future warfighting capabilities. Outside of the three main focus areas, we also look at how we educate the force on operational energy efficiencies that can enable greater combat capability, more training, and lower sustainment costs across the lifecycle of aviation platforms. We have had great success in both educating Airmen about operational energy as well as learning operational energy best practices that they have already incorporated. For example, one such success involved pilot instructors at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, changing their training airspace utilization processes and realizing more than $52 million in cost avoidance from Fiscal Year's 2010-2015 despite a 23 percent increase in student production. DoD P&E: How do you work with industry from a tech standpoint on future and legacy aircraft upgrades? Mr. Guerrero: It is imperative that our office engage with industry to understand and advocate for emerging operational energy technologies for our new and legacy aircraft. We have several processes by which we can engage with small and large businesses to demonstrate these initiatives. One example is the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy's Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund. Through this funding we are able to review initiatives and support promising operational energy technologies. The Air Force can then transition successful technologies into formal programs. Furthermore, our own Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is developing several programs that address operational energy efficiencies. One remarkable program is the Adaptive Engine Technology Program engine, which can achieve up to a 25 percent reduction in specific fuel consumption whilst realizing increases in thrust and range over current engine technology. Lastly, AFRL continues to develop and test many science and technology initiatives that address improving the operational energy efficiency of our legacy fleet. One example is attaching small airfoils called "microvanes" to aircraft fuselages (e.g. C-130s, C-17s) to reduce drag. Installing these microvanes on C-130Js shows an approximate three percent improvement in fuel efficiency. The test results on C-17s are still being analyzed, and we would expect to see similar positive conclusions. With the number of flight hours these aircraft accrue annually, even a 1-2 percent improvement can mean millions of dollars in savings for the Air Force with relatively low installation costs resulting in a high return on investment. DoD P&E: What about current aircraft maintenance and sustainment? What are you learning from industry in these areas? Mr. Guerrero: The commercial industry actively tracks engine data and seeks engine efficiencies. Our office visits different industries to share best practices and facilitate discussions with the maintenance community. We partner on initiatives such as engine water washes and legacy engine enhancements – efforts that significantly extend engine life and increase fuel efficiency. Additionally, we seek out new technologies such as engine turbine blade inspection/optimization and coatings that significantly increase the durability of the aircraft engine as well as its efficiency while increasing range and improving combat capability. DoD P&E: What are some future challenges for operational energy in the Air Force? Mr. Guerrero: Our long-term goal is to achieve the capability of automating aircraft operational energy data collection. Though we can report the amount of fuel delivered to an aircraft at a given time, we have yet to fully automate data collection of the aircraft's fuel usage during a sortie. Fully characterizing energy usage during a sortie, will give us insight into inefficient processes and provide us solutions to increase mission effectiveness. Right now, through analyzing the aggregate fuel delivered and flight time data we have from previous years, we know that we have achieved a 5.7 percent improvement in operational energy productivity (gallons/flight hour) since 2011. This is significant when you recall that the Air Force spent more than $5 billion for operational energy in FY16. However, Air Force wide systematic and automated operational energy data collection will provide us more fidelity on the effectiveness of the various sortie types, and will show us areas that can still improve. As the saying goes, "What gets measured, gets done!" Through manual data collection efforts, for example, we determined that aircraft at one base were landing with significantly more fuel than the required reserves. Not only does this incur a cost to carry penalty (an increase in burn rate of approximately three percent of the excess fuel per hour), but creates second and third order effects when you consider wear and tear on aircraft landing gear, brakes, tires, etc. Now that we have discovered this area of improvement, leadership can take steps to examine their processes and increase operational energy efficiency, which will optimize fuel burn as well as reduce sustainment costs. Ultimately, our efforts in this area, and all of our focus areas, will increase readiness though better execution, reduce maintenance tasks, and increase mission ready assets for combat and training. More info: safie.hq.af.mil/OpEnergy An Air Force KC-135 refuels an F-15C out of Elmendorf Air Force Base, AK. (U.S. Air Force) EXTENDING REACH AIR FORCE EFFICIENCY www.tacticaldefensemedia.com NP&FP and DoD P&E | Summer 2017 | 27

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