The Air Force doesn’t just generate energy savings from wind farms and large headquarters-directed initiatives, ideas from individual airmen and component command leadership also generate second and third order effects, the Air Force’s energy czar said Wednesday. Speaking during an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast event in Arlington, Va., Roberto Guerrero, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for energy, said USAF’s energy budget is overwhelmingly dominated by fuel expenditures (some $7 billion to $8 billion a year). However, examining practices in the mobility community has revealed several cost saving initiatives. In the KC-135, for example, a computer program called the “mission index flying program” examines a flight route and fuel and cargo load and then applies calculations to adjust airspeed and altitude as the mission progresses in order to maximize available fuel. At Altus AFB, Okla., airmen examined air refueling tracks used for airdrop training missions, and adjusted them to emphasize routes closest to the base without sacrificing training goals saving some $30 million in fuel in one year alone. These ideas have made their way up to USAF leadership, and are proving that by thinking smartly about daily routines, big savings can be achieved, Guerrero said.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.