Science and Technology News

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New laboratory enhances efficiency, saves money

by Airman 1st Class Erin O'Shea
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/9/2014 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England  -- The 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management flight held a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 27, 2014, in celebration of their newly-renovated fuels laboratory.

In 2011, the 48th LRS FMF laboratory was closed to address several host-nation fire code deficiencies. Once these risks were noted, the facility underwent renovation. Because of construction complications, the project was delayed more than two years, forcing the fuels flight to transport fuel samples several times a week to the lab at nearby RAF Mildenhall.

"The FMF is responsible for ensuring all fuel is safely and efficiently received, stored, and distributed to aircraft and vehicles on RAF Lakenheath, and we are required to ensure [that fuel is] on-specification according to applicable fuels technical orders," said 1st Lt. Jacob Maywald, 48th LRS FMF commander.

According to Maywald, this closure has had a negative effect on the unit, costing the 48th Fighter Wing manpower and money.

"This extra transit time is more than an inconvenience; it's extremely costly," Maywald said. "The back- and-forth trips costs the wing an extra $1,500 a year in fuels costs and makes a 30 minute job of running a sample into a three-hour ordeal."

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe Defense Logistics Agency representative, who oversees funding for the maintenance of base-level fuels infrastructure, recently made an unrelated site visit to the FMF and was made aware of the wing's frustrations with the laboratory.

"[The 48th Civil Engineer Squadron] programmed a new design and construction plan for performing an in-house training project, and we were able to align DLA with Base CE to fund the construction costs," Maywald said.

Completing the project in a fraction of the time, the 48th CE design slashed the laboratory's cost by 90 percent. According to Maywald, making the project more cost-effective was crucial as the project was programmed when the harshest effects of sequestration were affecting plans for new construction base-wide. The original contract for the fuels laboratory renovation was projected to cost an estimated $750,000, but with the assistance of the 48th CES and USAFE DLA, the final cost totaled $76,000.

With the new laboratory complete, the FMF can now reduce their man-hours and cost, while continuing to effectively support the mission of the 48th FW.

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