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Fuel Savings through Aircraft Modification: A Cost Analysis
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Secretary of the Air Force to task a federally funded research and development center to conduct an engineering analysis on modifying KC-135R and KC-10 tanker aircraft with winglets and submit a report to the congressional defense committees by May 1, 2009. This research summarizes the main issues that decision makers should consider in the investment in a winglet modification program. The factors that should be included in any decision, such as fuel costs, aircraft utilization, and life-cycle costs are enumerated. Using historical flight data from Air Mobility Commands AMC Global Decision Support System-2 and fuel reports from one of AMCs super tanker wings, a cost-benefit analysis is developed to aid in the decision making process. Although the addition of winglets to the KC-135R could reduce future fuel expenditures between 177 million and 1.1 billion over the modification costs by 2042, the second-order effects to current infrastructure may diminish any potential savings achieved by the modification. Further analysis is required on a location-by-location basis to obtain the actual costs of these second-orders effects before any modification decision is made.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE