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March 24, 2012

Fuel truck changes may save Air Force millions of dollars

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1st Lt. Ken Lustig
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman
Staff Sgt. Carlos Fuentes, 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron refueling maintenance craftsman, and Airman 1st Class Tyler Fontaine, 99 LRS refueling maintenance journeyman, connect a fuel hose between the hydrant fuel system and an R-11 fuel tanker truck, March 19, 2012 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The Hydrant Mobile Refueler system, or HYMORE, was installed on two of Nellis' R-11s for testing. The system should save the Air Force millions of dollars.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.”” The 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron completed installation of new fueling equipment that may save the Air Force millions of dollars.

The squadron completed installation in March of two test examples of the Hydrant Mobile Refueler system, or HYMORE, on its R-11 fuel tanker trucks. The test is part of an Air Force evaluation of the system being conducted at Nellis and at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. Nellis’ test will begin in April.

HYMORE has been in development for approximately a year and a half and should be implemented across the Air Force if testing goes as planned.

First Lt. John Vogel, 99 LRS Fuels Management flight commander, says HYMORE will likely result in first-year dollar savings to the Air Force in the “high hundreds of thousands” at Nellis alone.

HYMORE retrofits the R-11, a 6,000-gallon fuel tanker truck, to draw fuel from the base’s hydrant (in-ground) fuel system and pump it directly to an aircraft.

Vogel said without HYMORE, pumping hydrant fuel requires a separate, specialized vehicle, the R-12 truck. The squadron expects to save $326,000 in the first year simply by avoiding the R-12s replacement cost.

“The advantage of HYMORE is that it saves time and money in maintenance and convenience. It combines the best of both worlds between the R-11 and R-12 with only one system,” he said.

Master Sgt. David Butts, 99 LRS Fuels Maintenance Section chief, said that the HYMORE is ideal at a base like Nellis where there is a mix of assigned smaller aircraft, fighters and helicopters, with just a few visiting heavy aircraft.

Butts noted the R-12 pumps hydrant fuel faster than the HYMORE. However, without a dedicated need for the R-12 — such as an assigned fleet of heavy aircraft that need large amounts of fuel during every fill — the additional personnel, maintenance and training required to run the R-12 add extra costs the HYMORE should eliminate.

“Right now, we refuel everything we need to refuel by sending out one or two R-12s and two or three R-11s depending on the workload. We can basically reduce that to just two HYMOREs and one R-11,” Butts said.

With fewer vehicles, the fuel fleet’s “environmental footprint” is reduced through corresponding cuts in fuel use and emissions. It also means all the required trucks can be staged close to the flight line, where space for equipment is at a premium, instead of having some vehicles staged 15-20 minutes away at the squadron’s building.

“Our response times are going to be quicker because the equipment will be right there,” Butts said. “We won’t need to send another piece of gear.”

Reducing the number and types of vehicles needed to do the job creates secondary savings as well. The R-12 uses different parts than the R-11, including expensive and non-interchangeable fuel filters that must be changed at set time intervals. The HYMORE requires few additional parts compared to the standard R-11.

The squadron’s R-11 operators can use HYMORE with minimal additional training, since its control console is based on the R-11′s existing panels. The R-12 requires totally separate training for its operators.

“It’s going to be a pretty big savings,” Butts said.




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