New Aerodynamic Technologies to be Applied to US Air Force Mobility Fleet
The US Air Force is working on new aerodynamic technologies that will improve the flight capabilities of its mobility fleet.
This effort will produce new innovations that address maintenance issues, improve airflow, reduce fuel consumption and increase payload capacity on platforms like the C-17 Globemaster III, C-130 Hercules and KC-135 Stratotanker military transport planes.
The US Air Force Research Laboratory, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and industry partners are working together to complete the program.
Roberto Guerrero, US Air force Operational energy Deputy Assistant Secretary, stated that “my office has been working hard to advance initiatives that not just make us smarter about fuel consumption but also prevent maintenance issues and increase engine performance and mission planning.”
Aerodynamic projects ongoing
Each program area is funded by the Fiscal Year 2022 Presidential Budget.
These areas include microvanes’ airworthiness certification. Small, 3D-printed fin-shaped components are attached to the fuselage. They reduce fuel consumption by one per cent and help save over $10 million annually.
In order to conserve energy, the air force is testing vertical wiper blades.
New wiper blades are able to optimize mobility flights by 1%, which can result in fuel savings of $7,000,000
To minimize corrosion and contamination due to exposure to water or debris, the KC-135’s aluminum engine fan duct panels are being replaced with a composite material. This will eliminate $5.5 million in annual maintenance costs by addressing the recurring problem once and for all.
Climate Action Plan, Modernization of the US Air Force
The US Air Force collaborates simultaneously with commercial and defense partners to implement other optimization initiatives, such as legacy engine maintenance, mission software upgrades, aircraft design, and other related performance projects.
According to an air force statement, these programs are part of the Air Force’s effort to “Accelerate Change”.
It added that they also support the Department of Defense’s climate mitigation targets as part of President Biden’s executive order: Tackling the Climate Crisis At Home and Abroad as well as the newly published Department of the Air Force Climate Action Plan.