US Army Saves Millions of Dollars By Opting For Specialised Fuel Additive In Its Helicopter Fleet

By @diplomatist10 on
An MH-60R helicopter, attached to the USS Sampson (DDG 102), approaches an Indonesian patrol vessel
An MH-60R helicopter, attached to the USS Sampson (DDG 102), approaches an Indonesian patrol vessel while searching for debris. Reuters/U.S. Navy

The US Army has reported substantial savings in its fuel bills after it started using energy efficient fuels for its helicopter fleet. The Army is projecting increased cost savings by expanding the use of "GE’s +100 fuel additive" in all its aircraft. The defense department is impressed by the liquid fuel additive that has saved the Army in millions of dollars, usually spent on helicopter fuel and maintenance costs.

On the basis of long-term feasibility studies, the U.S. Army’s helicopters based at Fort Rucker, Alabama started using “additive” fuel for all models and made consistent savings. The fuel additive has helped the Army to achieve savings of nearly $150 per flight hour for its Chinook helicopters, and the Black Hawk helicopters reported savings of about $40 per flight hour.

The Army has been saving an estimated $5.4 million per year on maintenance costs alone with a combined net savings of $69 million in the last 10 years. In 2003, the U.S. Army granted a waiver for the Army Aviation War Fighting Center at Fort Rucker for conducting a long-term feasibility study on GE’s +100 fuel additive, which was already in use by the U.S. Air Force. That became the starting point.

Potential Accomplished

The success of the fuel additive at the U.S. Army helicopters evoked a jubilant reaction from its makers, “We are excited by the potential of our +100 fuel additive and the significant operational and maintenance cost savings that have been achieved by the U.S. Army for their global fleet of helicopters at Fort Rucker,” said Kevin Cassidy, chemical solutions general manager for GE Power & Water.

The spokesman hoped that greater use of the fuel with the Fort Rucker team will yield more benefits when the Army’s entire fleet of helicopters and other aircraft including turbine-powered equipment go for it.

Enhanced Thermal Stability

The fuel’s name is also appropriate as the liquid fuel additive has the ability to offer operators an additional 100 degrees Fahrenheit of thermal stability. This enhanced thermal stability prevents engine coking in aircraft and results in a cleaner, more efficient burn as well as lower operating costs and dramatic life cycle cost savings. The use of +100 also reduces carbon soot on the skin or sides of the helicopter, the spokesman added. The company claims that +100 can be used in all turbine-powered equipment, including tanks. In addition, the +100 can also find use in the commercial sector helicopters and airlines as well.

Saving Energy Bill

Many of the U.S Army's energy initiatives are aimed at reducing the fuel needs of deployed troops in remote areas and forward operating bases. In recent years, it has spent millions in developing next-generation battlefield generators which consume 20 percent less fuel and does not require any hard maintenance compared to previous models.

In its energy saving efforts, the Army is backed by organisations such as the US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command for developing tactical smart grids for integrating multiple technologies, such as renewables and energy storage systems to cut down on energy use.

(For feedback/comments, contact the writer at k.kumar@ibtimes.com.au)

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