Logistics is vital on the battlefield. Fueling the force is a big part of that. Sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s, the Army (and military) transitioned to a single fuel concept. The purpose of doing this was to save money, reduce the different types of fuels needed, reduce storage costs and requirements, and have all/most equipment run on a single type of fuel. That fuel is JP8.
In the paragraphs below I want to share with you some basic things you should know about JP8. My goal is not to make you an expert, but to give you a general overview.
- JP8 was designed to replace diesel fuel
- It was created to be part of a single fuel concept; so when units are deployed they only need to supply one type of fuel
- Most military equipment runs on JP-8, although some still run on MOGAS, diesel or kerosene
- It was first introduced to NATO forces in 1978
- It is specified by MIL-DTL-83133 and British Defense Standard 91-87
- It has an oily feel to the touch
- Workers have complained of smelling and tasting JP-8 for hours after exposure
- The FY 2014 cost per gallon is $3.62
- It is very similar to fuel used by commercial jets and airplanes
- The primary ingredient in JP8 is kerosene
- In addition to kerosene, JP-8 contains very small amounts of many other substances, such as benzene, and various additives to inhibit icing, prevent static charge buildup, avoid oxidation, and decrease corrosion
- JP8 is safer to use than JP4
- Planes using JP8 are much less likely to explode when damaged in combat
- It can cause skin irritation and sensitization, resulting in itchy, red, peeling or tender skin
- It has a flashpoint of 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- The appearance is a pale yellow to water like liquid
- The boiling range is 280 degrees to 572 degrees Fahrenheit
The bottom line is that JP8 is here to stay, at least until 2025. The whole idea of having a single type of fuel on the battlefield makes a lot of sense to me. It’s a great way to save money and streamline logistics.
On a side note, what are your thoughts? If you have much experience as a fuel handler, equipment operator or contractor, please leave a comment below to share your thoughts about JP8. I look forward to hearing from you.