The US Air Force’s (USAF) Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) has provided construction update on the new KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft fuel hydrant system.

Work on the system, which commenced in July last year, is progressing and remains on track for completion in December this year.

The new system is being built to provide an efficient and time saving fuelling solution for KC-135 operations at NFARS. It will support the 914th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), based at NFARS in New York.

The project includes sufficient fuel storage in hydrant system and disposal of available fuelling infrastructure that are no longer functional.

US Army Corps of Engineers New York District project engineer Matthew Rua said: “We are taking the previously owned West petroleum, oil and lubricant (POL) yard and adding a 420,000-gallon tank to store fuel on site for the planes.

“After that we will replace all the underground piping from West POL yard out to the six hydrant pits on the flightline.”

POL is one of the Air Force Specialty Codes assigned under 914th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS), which is responsible for maintaining fuel quantity and purity.

Rua added: “Two operating tanks will also be repaired, along with building a new POL Lab.

“These operational repairs will maintain and improve quality through lab testing, increase efficiency, and decrease manpower to save time and money.”

The system will minimise the movement of KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft on the airfield to refuel from individual trucks, which is a time taking and labour intensive process.

With the hydrant system, fuel can be directly pumped into the aircraft’s tank.

However, the service claimed that even after the installation of this new system, trained POL airmen will be required for conducting lab tests for checking fuel quality.