The Air Force will soon take delivery of the first of six new high-tech Volvo fuel trucks that have almost twice the capacity and far better range than the ageing fleet of Scania trucks being used currently.
The contract to build the new fuel trucks was awarded to Holmwood Highgate (Australia) in August last year with RNZAF having had a significant input into the vehicles requirements and design.
“The trucks we have at the moment are about 30 years old and certainly in need of replacement,” Flight Sergeant (F/S) Robert Healey said.
“The vehicles we are getting are a huge improvement by far on the trucks they are replacing. It’s one of the largest volume aircraft fuel trucks in the country.”
The Volvo can hold 40,000L of Jet fuel compared with the Scania’s 23,000L, which means it can do more aircraft refuels before it needs to be reloaded.
Average large volume fuelling is about 15,000L, so the Volvos will be able to do multiple refuels before it needs to reload, F/S Healey said.
“This means the squadrons aren’t waiting for fuel and helps them get on and get ready to do a task.”
The new trucks will be able to refuel the Air Force’s entire fleet, the P-8A Poseidons and C-130J Hercules when
they arrive, as well as other large visiting aircraft including C-17, Globemaster III he said.
The modern vehicle has advanced safety features included and the computer driven automated fuelling system will be using the most up-to-date-technology.
“There is lane departure and blindspot warnings fitted to the truck, which means that driver safety is improved. The fuelling system’s enhanced safety features ensure fuelling operations are conducted as safely as possible.”
That means the fuel won’t be overpressurised, the aircraft can’t be overfilled, or if a filter was to rupture it would be detected and the fueller automatically shuts down, F/S Healey said.
“Its primary role will be to support the aircraft on the bases, but it will also be able to travel around the country if Air Force aircraft are refuelling at other airports.
“The truck will also be able to de-fuel aircraft for maintenance reasons as well. It’s a very versatile vehicle.”
The fleet of trucks will be based at Base Auckland and Base Ohakea. All six should arrive in the country and be operational by the end of the year, F/S Healey said.
Published in Air Force News #238 (external link)