An Assessment of the Options Available to Air Forces' Commanders to Suppress Smoke from Oil Well Fires
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
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The particulates in smoke from oil well fires can obscure targets and inhibit the use of precision-guided munitions. The purpose of this research was to develop a decision support matrix to aid commanders of air forces select methodologies for controlling oil well fire smoke through fire suppression. Through interviews with military experts and fire-lighters, a set of situational factors affecting the employment of these technologies was developed. Technologies for extinguishing oil well fires were investigated by conducting expert interviews and studying research data, periodical literature, and proposals suggesting means to control the Kuwaiti oil well fires. Over 200 proposals from the Kuwaiti disaster and four technologies from the R and D community were reviewed. The feasibility of military employment in a combat environment was determined through a bimodal evaluation of methodologies using nine criteria. Only one methodology met the criteria diminishing the practicality of a decision matrix. The decision matrix was replaced by a ranked fist of methodologies. Further research is necessary to replace the bimodal evaluation with a weighted-criteria evaluation of the methodologies. Researchers could quantify the effort required to make the methodologies employable by the military and establish a threshold past which pursuit of the technology becomes impractical.
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