Fuel Reduction for the Mobility Air Forces
RAND PROJECT AIR FORCE SANTA MONICA CA
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Reducing aviation fuel use has been an ongoing goal for military and civil operators, and there is an extensive literature on the topic. As early as 1976, the Military Airlift Command MAC, now Air Mobility Command AMC, published a pamphlet entitled Birds Fly Free, MAC Doesnt. Although the material is presented in a humorous way, the topics it discusses are still relevant today, and many of the fuel saving concepts presented therein are revisited in our work. This is a reminder that fuel efficiency is not necessarily about groundbreaking new ideas rather, it is about consistently implementing and following known best practices. AMC consumed just over half of all aviation fuel used by the Air Force in fiscal year 2008. As a result, there has been increasing pressure for AMC to seek opportunities to reduce fuel use. To this end, the AMC Fuel Efficiency Office was chartered in 2008 to identify and implement opportunities for fuel reduction. As part of the increased emphasis on fuel efficiency, the Air Force set a goal to reduce fuel consumption by 10 percent from a 2006 baseline by 2015. In March 2013, the Air Force had already achieved a 12 percent reduction. Although this goal has been met, it is still prudent for the Air Force to pursue cost-effective options to further reduce fuel use. The literature on fuel use in the aviation industry is extensive, but there are two difficulties applying this to AMC. First, most existing literature does not broadly calculate savings at the enterprise level. Second, existing literature focuses mainly on commercial operations. One intention of this report is to determine when applying commercial standards to the Air Force is appropriate and to calculate the enterprise-level savings such practices would impart. After reviewing academic research and existing fuel reduction initiatives in the Air Force and industry, we developed a list of fuel reduction options.