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It is easy being green: Green Hornet team strikes, wins environmental excellence award

The Green Hornet flies over Naval Air Station Patuxent River April 22, 2010. On Earth Day 2010, the Super Hornet became the first Navy aircraft to demonstrate alternative fuel capability using a 50/50 blend of camelina biofuel and the Navy’s primary jet fuel, jet propellant (JP)-5. (U.S. Navy photo)

The Green Hornet flies over Naval Air Station Patuxent River April 22, 2010. On Earth Day 2010, the Super Hornet became the first Navy aircraft to demonstrate alternative fuel capability using a 50/50 blend of camelina biofuel and the Navy’s primary jet fuel, jet propellant (JP)-5. (U.S. Navy photo)

Apr 22, 2014

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NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- For the seventh consecutive year, the F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office (PMA-265)’s Green Hornet team was selected as the 2013 winner of the Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Award to be presented at a ceremony in May.

In the category of “Environmental Excellence in Weapon System Acquisition, Large  Program, Individual or Team," the Green Hornet team is cited for its efforts in developing successful environmental protection and awareness initiatives, to include continued development of biofuel, noise reduction efforts and hazardous materials management and pollution prevention.

Comprised of government and industry partner experts, the team manages the environment, safety and occupational health (ESOH) program for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the EA-18G Growler and their associated subsystems for PMA-265. The team’s mission is to ensure environmental excellence in systems acquisition by incorporating ESOH compliance during the design and systems engineering process.

The F/A-18 and EA-18G program office estimates that its carbon footprint will be reduced with all of the energy initiatives. “It’s always gratifying to see your efforts appreciated and your team excel,” Rudy said. “The real satisfaction comes from knowing that you are working on a program that, in a small way, makes a real difference to our customer, the fleet, and most importantly the Sailors on our ships.”

On Earth Day 2010, the Super Hornet became the first Navy aircraft to demonstrate alternative fuel capability using a 50/50 blend of camelina biofuel and the Navy’s primary jet fuel, jet propellant (JP)-5. Biofuel is one of several environmental projects managed by the NAVAIR Propulsion and Power team and supported by the Green Hornet team under the leadership of Mike Rudy, F/A-18 & EA-18G ESOH manager and Green Hornet team lead.

Four years later, as Earth Day 2014 approaches, much progress has been made in the development of biofuels.  Recent initiatives in energy efficiency and alternative fuels continue to be promoted by the Green Hornet team, PMA-265 and NAVAIR Fuels Branch.

Last year, a revised JP-5 specification was reissued, approving the use of 50/50 blends using either Fischer Tropsch or Hydroprocessed Ester and Fatty Acid alternative processes.

Researching alternatives to jet fuel is just one of the Green Hornet team’s initiatives; meeting ESOH guidelines and reducing the carbon footprint on the environment also means reducing jet noise for the aircrew, maintenance personnel and the surrounding communities.

"It is imperative that acquisition programs seek ways to reduce the noise levels on our tactical aircraft,” said Capt. Frank Morley, PMA-265 program manager. “PMA-265 has embarked on a robust research and development program to determine the best solution to make our jets quieter.”

In a combined effort, the program office and Office of Naval Research have invested in a project with industry partner General Electric Aircraft Engines to reduce noise levels. This project involves using variable exhaust nozzle mechanical chevrons installed onto the engine in order to reduce noise.

During the last two years, tests demonstrated a reduction in noise level that is most likely to cause noise-induced hearing loss among aircrew. According to Rudy, studies show that the chevron project is a viable, deployable solution with demonstrated reduction in noise levels, and will not affect performance of the aircraft.

“Important to note is that the chevron configuration does not impact engine performance or other critical criteria for fleet acceptance to ultimately allow integration of this noise-reduction technology solution into the F/A-18E/F inventory,” Rudy said.

The project is still in the testing and development phase; when implemented, it will be the first installation of jet noise reduction technology on any high-performance tactical Navy aircraft.

Planning continues for fiscal year 2014 ground-based and in-flight noise measurement tests of an F/A-18E with and without chevrons, while PMA-265 and the Green Hornet team also support research of other promising technologies to reduce jet noise.

A Navy Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) study aimed to alleviate noise impacts around military airfields by analyzing aircraft operational flight profiles and trajectories concluded last year. The Flight Profile Optimizer Enhancements:  Aircraft Engine Emissions and Fuel Consumption Models, proposed and managed by the Green Hornet team, is a software model that integrates environmental factors with aircraft operational requirements so that optimal flight profiles can be performed based on any combination of weightings for noise, fuel burn and air emissions.

An effective near-term, low- cost solution to jet noise, the upgraded Flight Profile Optimizer was used successfully in environmental studies for Naval Air Station, Oceana, Va., and Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md.

PMA-265 and the Green Hornet team also remain committed to Hazardous Material reduction and/or elimination, supporting studies using various, advanced non-chromate primers and coatings.

Winning the CNO award automatically places the Green Hornet team in nomination for the 2013 Secretary of the Navy Environmental Award.

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120225-N-DR144-057 ARABIAN GULF (Feb. 25, 2012) An F/A-18F Super Hornet flown by Lt. j.g. Christopher Montague and Cmdr. Fernando Garcia, left, and an F/A-18F Super Hornet flown by Lt. Cmdr. Warren Tomlinson and Lt. j.g. Josh Raymond, right, all assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, enter the landing pattern over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans/Released)

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