MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
As the Air Force pursues a lighter and leaner footprint downrange, the 23d Wing is the first to test the lighter and leaner STARCART prototype at home station.
The STARCART is a new refueling system that Airmen assigned to the 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Management Flight experimented with during Mosaic Tiger 21-1, Feb. 22-26.
“The goal for the STARCART was to provide the capability for agile combat employment,” said Master Sgt. Kyle Neuland, 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Environmental and Safety Office director. “It’s your all-in-one kit. It’s everything you need to get going. You don’t have to worry about a ton of components [like with the R-11 Refueler].”
The R-11, the primary mobile refueling vehicle for the Air Force, takes up an entire HC-130J Combat King II and holds up to 6,000 gallons of fuel. The STARCART doesn’t require as many pallet positions on an aircraft and can be paired with fuel bladders that range in volume from 10,000 to 210,000 gallons.
“It’s a faster process for re-deploying than we had with the R-11,” said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Coad, 23d Wing Integration and Training Office superintendent. “We wanted a smaller and more compact fuel system, with a separate fuel container so if we needed to get out of the area quickly, we’d be able to leave the bladder and take off.”
Fuels flights across the Air Force identified the need for leaner refueling equipment in response to the agile combat employment construct and provided the Air Force Petroleum Office with ideas for a new piece of equipment. AFPET then passed specifications along to Millennium Systems International to create the first STARCART.
“As a petroleum, oil and lubricant superintendent, I worked with the 23d Contracting Squadron, to submit a request for innovation funds,” said Coad. “They put in a lot of effort, and, as a result, Moody became the first base to purchase the STARCART.”
Mosaic Tiger was the right opportunity for the 23d Wing to experiment with the STARCART and test whether it aligned with the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s strategic approach to accelerate change.
“We used it for Mosaic Tiger at the hot cargo pad to simulate a contingency location,” said Neuland. “The biggest obstacle we faced is the way things are laid out on the cart. Your issue side, where your operator would usually stand to monitor [the gauges], is not where we are used to it being and we had limited hoses because we had to purchase those last minute.”
Despite the challenges, 23d Wing Airmen came out of the experimentation phase with lessons learned to pass along.
“I think it performed well,” said Coad. “There are still some modifications that can be made to it, and that’s our responsibility to gather all of that information as the test base for this piece of equipment and provide it back to the Air Force Petroleum Office so we can get these modifications made and a possible re-testing of a different variation, which will then determine if this piece of equipment is put into the actual inventory for bases.”
Testing of the STARCART and its capabilities will continue as Moody and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, the second location to receive a STARCART, experiment with it and send improvements up the chain.