Army Procurement of 10kW, 60Hz Gas Turbine Generators Is Highly Questionable

PSAD-79-95: Published: Aug 9, 1979. Publicly Released: Aug 9, 1979.

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For the past 13 years the U.S. Army Mobility Equipment Research and Development Command has been developing the 10kW, 60Hz gas turbine generator at a cost of $5.8 million, and plans to begin production in fiscal year 1980. The Army approved a requirement for 5,938 units, 1,387 to satisfy 10kW power requirements, and 4,551 to satisfy 5kW power requirements for field support of water purification equipment, machine and electrical repair shop equipment, and radio teletypewriters.

The 10kW gas turbine generator consumes two to three times more fuel than current diesel or gasoline generators which conflict with the Department of Defense (DOD) policy to reduce fuel consumption. It has also failed to meet reliability requirements and the Army requirement of human portability. According to GAO, the estimated 20-year cost of acquiring and operating 5,938 10kW gas turbine generators is from $275 million to $1.6 billion more than diesel generators. The Army could save between $62 million and $370 million over 20 years if it bought 1,387 diesel generators instead of gas turbine generators to meet its 10kW power requirements. If the Army purchased 5kW diesel generators to fulfill 5kW power requirements the estimated life-cycle cost savings would be from $213 million to $1.3 billion over 20 years. Not as cost effective as the diesel, the gasoline generator appears to be more cost effective than the 10kW gas turbine since a $208 million fuel savings could be made over 20 years.

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