A U-2 Dragon Lady flies over Travis Air Force Base, California, June 28, 2021.
A U-2 Dragon Lady flies over Travis Air Force Base, California, June 28, 2021.

US Air Force 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron Refines Expeditionary Fueling System for U-2 Dragon Lady

The U.S. Air Force 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) is implementing a new expeditionary fueling system as part of the Immediate Response Force (IRF). This system will improve the U-2 Dragon Lady’s rapid deployment capability and allow for immediate refueling in expeditionary environments. One of these aspects involves managing the fuel for the U-2, which is where the new expeditionary fuel system, the Tactical Aviation Ground Refueling System (TAGRS) comes in as part of IRF. The TAGRS is a pump that pulls fuel out of a 500 gallon bag rather than having to depend on fuel trucks in deployment areas.

US Air Force 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron Refines Expeditionary Fueling System for U-2 Dragon Lady
Airman 1st Class Corbin Ney, left, and Staff Sgt. Peter John Mandadero, right, 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron Immediate Response Force team members, carry fuel hoses down the flightline during an exercise July 9, 2021, at Beale Air Force Base, California. This exercise served to test the new expeditionary refueling system at Beale. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Juliana Londono)

The Tactical Aviation Ground Refueling System is based on an old expeditionary concept going back to WWII, however what is new is that it is being used for JPTS fuel. The U-2 uses Jet Propellant Thermally Stable (JPTS), a highly specialized fuel that is not readily available at airports worldwide, which is why this specialized concept, IRF, is so crucial. On July 9, 2021, an exercise was held that served as a proof of concept to test the TAGRS. This exercise,which proved highly effective for the 9th LRS, was held to ensure that here on Beale there are expeditionary fuel capabilities.

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US Air Force 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron Refines Expeditionary Fueling System for U-2 Dragon Lady
9th Logistics Readiness Squadron Immediate Response Force team members prepare to test the Tactical Aviation Ground Refueling System (TAGRS) during an exercise, July 9, 2021, at Beale Air Force Base, California. With the TAGRS, fueling the U-2 while deployed will be more rapid as the team will not have to depend on fuel trucks to supply the fuel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Juliana Londono)

“Without fuel, pilots are pedestrians. We will be able to send a U-2 anywhere a combatant commander needs it and long term, at least on the fuels side, we are trying to build flexibility in the ground level so that it can be used in a multitude of ways. We’ve done what we’re tasked to do, and that’s to do more, to do better and to do it faster. Through developing new processes, finding new equipment and utilizing the knowledge we have, we’ve come up with an entirely new system to support the mission,” said Tech. Sgt. Marshall Spooner, 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) fuels flight noncommissioned officer in charge of transport and mobility.

US Air Force 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron Refines Expeditionary Fueling System for U-2 Dragon Lady
Staff Sgt. Peter John Mandadero, 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron Immediate Response Force team member, prepares fuel hoses for a U-2 Dragon Lady during an exercise to test out the Tactical Aviation Ground Refueling System, July 9, 2021, at Beale Air Force Base, California. The new system being tested proved highly effective by taking less than 14 minutes to set up. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Juliana Londono)

The 9th Logistics Readiness Squadron will be able to send a U-2 anywhere a combatant commander needs it and long term, at least on the fuels side, we are trying to build flexibility in the ground level so that it can be used in a multitude of ways. This test has proven that the IRF is well on its way to being operational. The 9th LRS plans to make this a rapid-mobilization system, so they can move it to any location quickly. Furthermore, they are planning on building two additional complete systems for deployment, which is expected to be accomplished in the next six months.

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