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Improving the Efficiency of Engines for Large Nonfighter Aircraft
Statement of Task
The NRC will:
Review all large, nonfighter aircraft and develop a list of candidates that would benefit most from engine efficiency improvements or re-engining.
Assess and leverage all relevant past re-engining studies.
Evaluate life-cycle cost-benefits for each candidate, including fuel savings, reliability, maintainability, logistics and sustainment support. Consider safety, environmental, and operational implications.
Recommend affordable re-engining and/or engine life extension improvements.
Determine whether multiplatform solutions are possible for reducing inventory footprint.
Develop implementation strategies to include conventional as well as innovative acquisition, financing and support concepts.
novative initiatives in the areas of fuel-efficient vehicles, advanced battery technology and hybrid power trains…. [Deputy Secretary] England is overseeing the issuance of a new department-wide guidance, focusing on concrete steps the Pentagon can implement to conserve energy. (Pudas, 2006, p. 42)
The above memorandum effectively institutionalizes energy conservation within DoD, and it is expected that the Air Force will follow with a set of guidelines for fuel conservation. As shown in Figure 1-1, in 2005 DoD consumed 97 percent of all fuel used by the U.S. government (Sega, 2006), or 5.6 billion gallons (DESC, 2005). Within DoD, the Air Force utilized the most fuel (53 percent), approximately 3.0 billion gallons (Sega, 2006; DESC, 2005).
As shown in Figure 1-2, in 2005 aviation fuels accounted for 89 percent of all Air Force fuel, totaling approximately 2.7 billion gallons (Sega, 2006; DESC, 2005). Nonfighter aircraft accounted for approximately 64 percent of total Air Force aviation fuels (Sega, 2006), or approximately 1.7 billion gallons (DESC, 2005). Within the large nonfighter aircraft fleet, 10 aircraft families account for 90 percent of the total utilization of nonfighter fuel, as shown in Table 1-1. For this reason, the study reviewed each of these aircraft to determine whether there are engine improvements or, possibly, aerodynamic improvements that can be incorporated to reduce the overall fuel burden on the Air Force. The study also examined potential savings afforded by increased operational capabilities and maintenance measures that might lead to lower sustainment costs.
In fact, because many nonfighter aircraft have been in service for a long time, the application of modern engine and aerodynamic technology could dramatically improve fuel efficiency.
However, all benefits must be balanced against the life-cycle costs of these new technologies over the remaining life of the aircraft. Incorporating engine improvements or re-engining an aircraft can impact all major aircraft systems. Moreover, the cost of implementation may also include reanalysis,