Every October, we recognize Energy Action Month to highlight the critical role energy plays in Air Force operations, and to encourage smart energy use and management for our installations, ground vehicles, and aircraft. This year, our new theme of "Energy Able – Mission Capable” will showcase how efficient energy use increases mission capability and readiness for our global mission. Whether we’re championing projects that optimize aviation fuel use, or encouraging Airmen to make smart energy decisions at individual installations, our goal is to foster a culture that prioritizes energy optimization and water management.
As part of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Propulsion & Energy Forum held in Indianapolis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Air Force Operational Energy, Roberto Guerrero, gave the opening keynote speech on Wednesday, August 21. Among many topics presented, he highlighted the importance of data, modern technology, and sustainment initiatives in making the Air Force more combat capable.
In one corner the U.S. Air Force flies the most advanced aircraft in the world, yet in the other corner, Airmen use clunky spreadsheets and paper documents to analyze operations and mission plan. Learn how the Air Force is increasing readiness and capability through innovative software.
As part of a newly offered course at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), a small group of students determined energy-optimized flying conditions for Air Force fighter relocation missions, which are also known as coronets. Their work is helping to inform a Pentagon-led initiative that seeks to increase the efficiency and combat capability of aircraft operations.

Our Strategy for Optimizing Aviation Fuel Use

Air Force Operational Energy was featured in the Innovative Energy Solutions for Military Application (IESMA) Special Edition Newsletter, published by The NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme in August 2019. 

The report highlights the strategy Air Force Operational Energy is pursuing and how we are actively working toward our goals.

 

 

Speaking to the Propulsion and Energy Communities

As part of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Propulsion & Energy Forum held in Indianapolis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Air Force Operational Energy, Roberto Guerrero, gave the opening keynote speech on Wednesday, August 21. The presentation highlighted some of the initiatives his office is pursuing to increase combat capability through energy solutions, such as fuel use data collection and analysis, modern technology for Joint mission planning, aircraft sustainment, and drag reduction. 

"There's a lot of opportunity to optimize how we fly through data and technology solutions," Guerrero said during the 50 minute speech. 

Bringing defense planning into the 21st century through modern software

For much of the defense community the ease and functionality of modern technology is not translated to military planning systems. While cumbersome acquisitions processes, funding issues, and security concerns are often valid causes, many Department of Defense processes (and any software associated with them) cannot compete with the technology many Americans use regularly.

In one corner the U.S. Air Force flies the most advanced aircraft in the world, yet in the other corner, Airmen use clunky spreadsheets and paper documents to analyze operations and mission plan. 

AFIT students inform Pentagon energy initiative

As part of a newly offered course at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), a small group of students determined energy-optimized flying conditions for Air Force fighter relocation missions, which are also known as coronets. Their work is helping to inform a Pentagon-led initiative that seeks to increase the efficiency and combat capability of aircraft operations.

The course, Aviation Energy Systems Engineering, began in the 2019 spring semester and is the first of its kind at AFIT, offering students the opportunity to learn the critical role aviation energy plays in mission planning, readiness and logistics. Initiated and funded by Air Force Operational Energy (SAF/IEN), the course covers topics such as aircraft physics, aircraft energy requirements including propulsion & mission systems, and the technologies used to meet those requirements.  Future technologies are also considered, along with operational factors such as fuel logistics, wargaming, and energy optimization. 

Air Force Energy presents at dla energy worldwide conference

"We need to plan out fuel logistics in wargaming just as realistically as we plan everything else," said Roberto Guerrero, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Operational Energy, at the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy Worldwide Conference on May 22, 2019 at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center. 

Throughout his speech, Mr. Guerrero emphasized the importance of collecting and analyzing fuel use data for improved efficiency and highlighted a number of initiatives Air Force Operational Energy is working on to increase readiness and combat capability.  

The Air Force is becoming more Agile

As the U.S. Air Force strives to incorporate more innovative solutions into mission operations, using an Agile methodology to develop software will become increasingly critical. Agile development creates functional and adaptable software that better equips the warfighter to respond to uncertain and ever-changing environments.

Air Force Operational Energy is utilizing this methodology to create tools that optimize mission planning and execution, and improve efficiency.

 

The Air Force is analyzing operational efficiency – one airframe at a time

The Energy Analysis Task Force (EATF), led by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Air Force Operational Energy, has been systematically visiting Air Force bases around the country to observe actual training and mission flights, and speak with flight crews (to include operators and maintainers) about flight operations, practices, and aircraft requirements that have an impact on aviation fuel efficiency. The goal: to identify optimization best practices (and the challenges to implementing them) across each airframe, and produce a report that recommends which initiatives, processes, and technologies could have the greatest benefit to capability and readiness.

Known as a Line Operations Efficiency Analysis (LOEA), the team starts by targeting one airframe at a time and reviewing applicable publications and in-flight guides for that specific airframe. Then, in coordination with wing leadership, the team visits the aligned bases to conduct in-depth, non-attributional focus groups with aircrews of that airframe.

How the Air Force got smarter about its aviation fuel use in 2018

Did you know the Air Force is the largest consumer of fuel in the Department of Defense? This may not surprise you, if say, you’ve ever watched a sortie of F-35s complete an aerial refueling, or witnessed a C-5 lift (seemingly) effortlessly into the sky. In fact, the Air Force consumes approximately 2 billion gallons of aviation fuel annually – which is about 81 percent of the total Air Force energy budget (with about 17 percent used for facilities and 2 percent for ground vehicles).

Operational energy, or aviation fuel, is critical to mission success – but getting fuel to the warfighter involves complex logistical and technical challenges, intricate planning, and more importantly, poses safety risks to the troops transporting it. As the battlefield becomes increasingly multifaceted, energy resilience is a top concern for the Air Force, and optimized operations are an essential component to maintaining it.

DoD joins NATO partners to discuss future of military energy resilience

As part of Innovative Energy Solutions for Military Application (IESMA) 2018, a collaborative symposium led by the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence, international experts from the energy and defense communities came together to discuss leading developments in energy resilience and security. Over 500 participants, including many distinguished military and governmental leaders representing NATO member and partner nations, attended the biennial event held in Vilnius, Lithuania from November 14 to 16.

The event provided a forum for participating nations to discuss the future of innovative energy capabilities, and exchange best practices on how to increase combat capability through efficient operations and cutting-edge technology. Senior defense and industry representatives spoke on a number of topics, including secure energy logistics, infrastructure and storage, energy management, next generation power systems, optimized mission planning, and alternative fuels, among others.

“Optimizing aviation fuel use leads to a number of second and third order effects like increased range, fewer maintenance issues, and reduced costs – funds that could be used for things like more training or new technology,” explained Principal Director of Air Force Operational Policy, Michael Penland. 

Commentary: Operational energy data is the new weapon of the U.S. Air Force

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Air Force Operational Energy, Roberto Guerrero, explains how operational energy data is the new weapon for the Air Force. 

"We can no longer assume that “taking off full and landing empty” equates to maximum efficiency. The Air Force burns approximately $5 billion in aviation fuel annually, so even relatively small increases in efficiency (2-4 percent) for our large aircraft fleet could mean hundreds of millions of dollars available for other mission necessities, like additional training hours or upgraded equipment on training ranges."

Demonstration results in policy update and optimized operations

Thanks to an optimization initiative led by Air Force Operational Energy (SAF/IEN), F-35 and F-22 fighter sorties are now requested to fly closer to the fighters' maximum range airspeed, while still within tanker boom limits, during Coronet missions. The faster speed decreases overall fuel consumption, while saving precious flight hours. 

In August 2017, Air Force Operational Energy conducted a proof-of-concept demonstration to show that increased speeds during this type of aircraft redeployment decrease fuel consumption. One cell of F-22s and an accompanying tanker for refueling, flew at a higher airspeed, while the other cell flew the standard profile and acted as a control group. Throughout the five hour flight, researchers collected multiple data points in order to compare results from both cells. The faster cell was able to cut about ten percent off the total flight time and six percent of the fuel required for this type of aircraft re-deployment. The faster speed parameters are within the Aerial Refueling Flight Envelope for the F-35 and F-22, as well as the KC-135 and the KC-10.  (See ATP 3.3.4.2 (c), Standards Related Document, 15 May 2018, pp. 8-63, 8-65)

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LEADERSHIP


Mr. Roberto Guerrero
(Biography)
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Operational Energy