A bright red drill head, the size of a manhole cover, began boring into the earth approximately 10 feet under Eglin’s runway last week. Contractor BRH-Garver’s team began the approximately five-day, 525-foot drilling project as part of the new $34 million underground fuel pipeline.
Contractor BRH-Garver’s team began the approximately five-day, 525-foot drilling project as part of the new $34 million underground fuel pipeline.
The pipeline will connect the 96th Test Wing bulk storage tanks to the 33rd Fighter Wing’s bulk storage and will cross both runways and various taxiways.
“We’re excited this project is now underway,” said Senior Master Sgt. James Holloway, 96th Petroleum, Oil and Lubrication Flight. “This pipeline will directly aid in supporting Eglin’s flying operations, increase military readiness and save time and money.”
The system will be capable of delivering fuel at 600 gallons-per-minute from 96th’s Bulk Storage facility to the 33rd’s operational tanks supporting flying operations such as hot pit refueling and traditional refueling vehicles.
Currently, large contracted fuel trucks move fuel across the base or from Pensacola NAS to the 33rd FW bulk storage area. These trucks run continuously throughout the duty day to ensure the F-22 and F-35 operations have the fuel needed to execute the mission.
“Currently, we must forecast our fuel needs in anticipation of mission requirements while cross-referencing what our outside suppliers can support,” said Tech. Sgt. Timothy Atchley, 96th POL facilities NCO-in-charge, of the time-intensive process. “With this new pipeline, we will be able to focus our attention on training and looking for ways to further enhance our current capabilities.”
The project, scheduled for completion in August 2021, will occur in eight phases. The new eight-inch fuel carrier pipe will have an outer protective casing and will stretch an estimated 22,300 linear feet. The project will also bring significant system upgrades including modernized electrical structures and additional leak detection systems.
Story by Samuel King Jr.
PHOTO (TOP): The head of the boring machine spins during a test prior to tunneling underneath the runway March 17 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The microtunnel created 10 feet below the runway will be filled with a new fuel transfer pipeline from the 96th Test Wing bulk storage tanks to the 33rd fuel storage area across the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)