Alternative Fuels

Recommendation 7-4. DoD should take steps beyond the B-52 flight demonstration to reaffirm its long-term commitment to synthetic fuels for its fleet of aircraft. This includes qualifying an FT fuel specification and fully certifying aircraft re-engined with, for example, CFM56 and large tanker platforms such as the KC-135R/T, C-130, and KC-10.

Recommendation 7-6. DoD should, over the period FY08-FY15, put into place a comprehensive program of candidate fuel qualification strategy comprising four phases: R&D, system demonstration, transition and deployment, and operations and support (see Figure 7-3). This work should be funded at $15 million per year.

Technology Preparedness and Insertion

Recommendation 8-1. The Air Force should review and amend the Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engine (VAATE) plan and its engine development programs, as appropriate, to provide an explicit emphasis on technology to improve fuel efficiency and reduce operational costs, to transition those improvements to fielded, high-bypass-ratio engines, and to consider research aimed at the reduction of particulate, hydrocarbon, sulfur, carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and noise emissions by the DoD systems.

Recommendation 8-4. The Air Force and DoD should reinvigorate the component improvement program (CIP) and the propulsion capability enhancement programs and combine the responsibility for component improvement, sustainment, and fuel burn under one budget authority to allow it to capture opportunities to reduce fuel burn and cost.

Recommendation 8-5. The Air Force and DoD should restore turbine engine S&T funding to the original level necessary to execute the VAATE plan (with recommended changes), with particular emphasis on reinvigorating engine demonstration programs aimed at rendering new technologies ready for transition to fielded engines.

Acquisition, Financing, and Support

Recommendation 9-1. The Air Force should adopt the following options right away: (1) maintaining all commercial derivative engines to FAA standards, (2) competing all maintenance contracts, (3) creating a line item in the defense budget, and (4) implementing a “fuel-savings performance contract” strategy.

Recommendation 9-2. The Air Force should aggressively evaluate the following options to determine their true utility: (1) re-engining Air Force aircraft with commercial engines and leasing or reselling the engines when the airframe is retired, (2) creating a spare engine and parts pool, (3) leasing engines on a long-term basis, and (4) leasing engines on a short-term basis.

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