Harold Hutchison / Feb. 23, 2018

Germany Had to Ground Its 'Green' Luftwaffe

Too much biodiesel in the fuel mix leaves our NATO ally grounded and way behind schedule.

How’s that “green” fuel initiative by the United States military and our allies working out? Not too well. In fact, one NATO ally has seen its military readiness take a huge hit as a result of placing being “green” over being ready for war.

According to a report by UK Defence Journal, the German Luftwaffe’s force of Tornado IDS strike aircraft has been grounded. The reason? Too much biodiesel in the fuel mix. As a result, these potent strike aircraft are out of action until their fuel tanks can be flushed, new-pilot training is now three months behind schedule, and the Germans may not be able to lead the NATO force slated to counter Russian aggression, the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, next year.

Now, “green fuel” from various sources (anything from beef fat to plants) can be useful as a reserve in case of a disruption in the supply of oil. But when jet fuel costs almost $30 a gallon or can only use a small amount of biofuel because it would break the bank, using it regularly is pretty stupid.

But there’s another “green” fuel with no carbon footprint that could be very useful here. That’s nuclear power, and it’s already used on the aircraft carriers and submarines of the United States Navy. What you may not remember is that it also was once used to power the Navy’s nine cruisers.

Perhaps a good idea might be to develop two classes of nuclear escorts for the nuclear-powered carriers: One would be an aerospace-defense cruiser loaded with Mk 41 vertical-launch cells — something at least the size of the one-of-a-kind USS Long Beach (CGN 9). The other would be a general-purpose escort — think something like an updated California-class guided-missile cruiser (originally designated a guided-missile destroyer leader).

Doing this could be a start in helping to free up some of the fuel resources. In 1962, the Navy used Task Force One to go around the world in two months without re-fueling. That’s not a bad thing.

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