From exercises to deployments, aid missions and more, the Army relies on fuel to keep things operational and there is one team of specialists that ensure the correct type goes where it needs to.

Army fuel specialists conduct fuel testing to guarantee fuel is within specification and ensure that vehicles and aircraft can keep functioning as they are meant to.

With 15 years as a fuel specialist, or ‘operator petroleum’, Sergeant Andrew Kennedy, from 3rd Brigade’s 3rd Combat Services Support Battalion, has been conducting fuel testing throughout his career.

“Generally, we test before we accept any fuel, and then we test again prior to the release of fuel from our installation,” Sergeant Kennedy said.

“We do this to ensure that the fuel coming out of the nozzle is at the standard we want.”

The fuel specialists have simplified their workflow over time as they upgraded their testing equipment by moving to electronic or hand-held test equipment.

The change sped up the work time and requires a minimal amount of fuel to be tested.

Warrant Officer Class One Jason Hartley, from 17th Sustainment Brigade, has been a part of introducing new testing equipment and adopting the changes to processes. The new processes have resulted in increased productivity, especially in the last four years.

“Upgrading from the glass jars and beakers to items which are battery operated and electronic has decreased the amount of time it takes to conduct the suite of tests,” Warrant Officer Class One Hartley said.

“It was quite a long process because you had to clean the glassware after every test, and dust was an issue – especially trying to do it in a deployed environment.”

With multiple fuel types being used, from diesel to aviation fuel and more, the specialists need to ensure on-specification fuel is issued to the relevant vehicles or aircraft. To do this, the trade follows a triservice document on fuel testing.

The Army fuel specialist conduct testing within the Defence fuel supply chain, leading to unique opportunities and wide exposure to triservice capabilities.