While the Air Force has exactly found a way to get cheaper at the pump, they are on the verge of implementing a new system that allows them to pump it cheaper. The 633rd Logistics Readiness Squadron based out of Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, is testing a new system called the Hydrant Mobile Refueler, also known as HYMORE, to determine if it is more efficient than the conventional systems in place today.
Typically an aircraft is serviced in a refueling “pit” where a pantograph, an accordion-like series of piping that extends from the gas tank to the aircraft, is used. Another method is to use an R-11 gas truck which is capable of delivering 6000 gallons of fuel at a time. What often puts the fuelers in a bind is when a large aircraft not assigned to the base arrives and requires fuel. The large frame aircraft maybe too large for the pits, or not have any pits available, thus necessitating the R-11. In order to fuel an aircraft such as a C-5 which requires 51,450 gallons of fuel that means the R-11 needs to make 9 trips back and forth to be able to completely fill the C-5.
HYMORE uses a hydrant system attached to an existing Type-III constant pressure fuel system. The R-11 attaches to the hydrant, via a modified connection, and then directly to the aircraft, effectively serving as a pump and filter for the fuel. No longer would the truck be limited to what it could carry in its own tank, it would be limited only to what the system could push. This would save the time required to shuttle back and forth for refills, especially when the time to connect and disconnect with the aircraft is taken into account. HYMORE is panning out to even be more efficient than the pantograph.
According to Master Sergeant Joseph Eveson, 633rd LRS Fuels Management NCO in charge of facilities, “If we’re using the pantograph, you have to take the additional piece of equipment and tow it out to the flightline. You have to hook it up, drive five miles an hour to the aircraft and it takes two people to set up. Once you’re done, its takes two people to take it all apart, and drive it back to its spot. With the HYMORE, you can just send one operator with his truck out to the aircraft.”
Regarding the costs of implementing the HYMORE system MSgt. Eveson said, “Instead of buying a new R-11, an R-12 and a pantograph, they could buy an R-11 and get the HYMORE attachment as an add-on. A pantograph costs about $125,000; a hydrant servicing vehicle costs about $127,000. The HYMORE costs about $21,000; so you’re looking at saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Furthermore, since HYMORE takes advantage of existing equipment and is simple to use, the operators require only minimal training to learn how to use compare to current operations.
HYMORE is currently under test at Langley AFB with Nellis AFB currently in the process of setting up HYMORE for testing. If the Nellis testing goes well and Langley continues to perform HYMORE could begin to deploy Air Force wide by the end of 2012.