Forward Fueling: Marine Corps Expeditionary Mobile Fuel Additization Capability Photo By Connie Braesch | Marine Corps Cpl. Marcus Bellamy (left) and Marine Corps Sgt. Andrew Grable watch… read more
Getting the high-quality fuel warfighters need to conduct their missions is not as straightforward as pulling up to a gas pump.
To ensure military aircraft, vehicles and equipment operate at peak performance, Defense Logistics Agency Energy relies on the injection of three additives into commercial jet fuel: fuel system icing inhibitor, corrosion inhibitor/lubricity improver and static dissipater.
“The additives prevent formation of ice in fuel, fight microorganism growth, reduce fuel-system corrosion problems, add lubricity, and improve ground safety during storage, transfer and issue,” said Samuel Cooks, DLA Energy Strategic Policy & Programs Directorate energy initiatives program manager.
For enduring locations and defense fuel support points, suppliers normally inject the necessary additives before final delivery to a base, camp or station, Cooks explained. But sourcing military-specification fuel in an expeditionary environment on short notice or in small quantities can be tough, he added.
“For small-scale requirements in remote locations or when commercial delivery of military-specification fuel isn’t available in the local market, on occasion the fuel must be additized on-site to sustain operations,” he said.
According to U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, the Corps needs an expeditionary fuel additive injection system to address this critical capability gap. To help find a mission-capable solution, in fall 2017 the Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office partnered with DLA Energy.
“Facilitating development of this tactical capability helps enhance supply chain resilience,” said Marine Corps Maj. Kelvin Chew, technology and experimentation analyst for the Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office. “This foraging capability supports expeditionary advanced base operations in a contested environment by allowing units to leverage commercial fuel stores to support a single fuel supply chain.”
While military aircraft, vehicles and equipment can use commercial-grade fuel, the inclusion of the additives help improve the warfighter’s equipment performance and lifespan.
“It is important because it allows the aircraft to fly higher, faster without the worry of the water in fuel freezing up … and you don’t have to worry about ground vehicles overheating,” said Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer David Gentry, airfield officer office in charge at Marine Wing Support Detachment 24. “If operating in the colder climate, the static will build up, but the static dissipater will help to remove it.”
“Anytime you’re talking about military aviation, you want them to perform at the top level,” said Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Richard Cordes, liaison officer to the Naval Petroleum Office. “Yes, aircraft can use different grades of aviation fuel. But think of it like this: If you use one tank of lower-grade fuel in your vehicle, is it going to hurt it? No, not that one tank. But over prolonged time, it’s going to lessen the performance and life of that vehicle.”
Identifying a SolutionWhen timing or conditions require the services to additize commercial fuel in the field, special equipment, training, and quality control measures are needed.“Right now, the Air Force and the Army do […]