Fueling the future: Innovative plans to improve Whiteman AFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christina Carter
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Streamlining aircraft refueling is an idea the 509th Logistic Readiness Squadron fuels management flight, has worked on since 2017. This innovative idea is now on its way to becoming reality.

The Fiscal Year 2024 Defense Logistics Agency Military Construction project is currently in the first of a four part process that walks through the overall details and justification for the entire project.

“The overall purpose of this project is to streamline aircraft refueling operations and minimize travel distance for vehicles that need to refuel,” said Colton Dietrich, 509th Civil Engineer Squadron portfolio optimization chief.

This project will provide new refueling infrastructure and equipment to the base airfield, such as, aircraft hydrant outlet pits for refueling T-38 Talon and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, an R-11 fuels truck fill stand and a ground vehicle service station.

“Currently, all A-10 Thunderbolt II and T-38 Talon aircraft are dependent on R-11 fuels trucks for refueling and the only point on the airfield where the trucks can fill their tanks is located within a secured area,” said Dietrich. “The extra travel distance combined with procedures for entering and exiting the restricted area adds an extra 20 to 30 minutes for each refueling trip.”

These new capabilities are designed to save time, increase efficiency and improve airfield operations as a whole.

“Considering that construction projects take multiple years to work with all of the design phases, a good working relationship and communication is the best way to maintain the project timeline and ensure the end user truly gets what they need to meet and enhance mission needs,” said Porter.

According to Dietrich, the current timeline for this multiyear project starts with phase one the concept and design in fiscal year 2021. Once phase one is approved it will move into phase two the final design in 2022 and then onto the construction contract award phase in the next fiscal year. If all goes to plan, the construction phase will begin in 2024.

“This project is important in order to maintain the strategic deterrence mission of Whiteman AFB and ultimately the National Defense Strategy,” said Porter. “The flexibility and resiliency provided by this project is critical to supporting the 509th Bomb Wing and mission partners. Meeting the fuel demands of our customers, in the most efficient way possible, is one of the primary components of air power superiority.”

Adding these additional capabilities to our mission with this innovative project will ultimately save Whiteman AFB Airmen time in accomplishing their mission. Providing aircraft fuel at more easily accessible locations will reduce the amount of time it takes to refuel the aircraft, resulting in shorter ground time and the capability to maintain mission readiness.