Air Force officials are using a mild abrasive solution made with black coal to clean KC-10 engines during depot maintenance. The effort is expected to reduce fuel consumption, extend the engine service life, and save thousands of pounds of aviation fuel, while decreasing the number of maintenance failures, according to Air Mobility Command officials. “Desert climates cause buildup of silica and sand on engines blades, which heat up and melt to the blades during operation,” said Steven Slatter of AMC’s fuel efficiency office. This can “cause engine performance to degrade more rapidly . . . and result in engines needing maintenance at a quicker interval,” he added. A recent test of six KC-10 CF6-50 engines found that cleaning them resulted in a significant reduction in gas temperature and reduced the fuel flow by an average of 335 pounds per hour, said Slatter. (Scott report by Capt. Kathleen Ferrero) (See also Energy Effectiveness from the Daily Report archives.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.