126 Petroleum Squadron RLC
126 Petroleum Sqn RLC is part of 160 Transport Regiment, based at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks, Grantham. It consists of two troops and a squadron Headquarters with approximately ninety soldiers and officers on paper.
The role of the squadron is to provide logistical fuel support, whether packed or bulk supplies - from a single tube of grease to several thousand litres of aviation fuel. Soldiers are trained in the safe handling of receipt, storage and issuing of fuels and lubricants (POL).
The Squadron's responsibilities are the "Handling, testing, storage & supply of fuels, lubricants and associated products in a condition suitable at the ultimate point of consumption." As such, it's personnel need to be specially trained to construct fuel storage & transfer equipment and to be aware of the dangers and knowledge of how to prevent potentially catastrophic incidents such as fire & explosion, pollution, toxicity and asphyxiation. All Petroleum Operators are trained by the Dorset Fire and Rescue Service to fight Flammable Liquid Fires.
The Squadron's mission is achieved through the construction of Bulk Fuel Installations (BFI). A BFI consists of large rubberised Tank Fabric Collapsibles (TFC's). Each TFC is capable of storing 136,000 litres of fuel. Pumps of 682LPM/150GPM are used to receive or issue and all fuel is passed through filtration equipment in order to maintain quality. A typical Battlefield Bulk Fuel Installation can store up to 816,000 ltrs of fuel (Six tanks plus two in reserve).
Although Napoleon is famously quoted as saying,"An army marches on it's stomach." The modern mechanised army also requires fuel, lubricants, flammable gases for cooking and industrial gas for hot metal work, refridgeration, medical and meteorological uses. It is the 'Petroleum Operator' who is the skilled professional in the safe handling of these products. Although all mechanised vehicles require fuel, they also need grease, oil, coolant, brake fluid and power steering fluid. Lubricating oil for the rifle to Torpedo Grease for the Submarines, to Water Thrust Augmentation for Harrier jump jet Engines. All fall within the realm of the PET.OP.
The most efficient method of transferring fuel long distances is through use of a Pipeline. Tactical Fuel Handling Equipment (TFHE) is constructed by specialised Royal Engineer teams and can be up to 100km in length. Pumping equipment is spread along at varying intervals and fuel storage areas constructed . After the pipeline has been commissioned (Fit and safe for use) it is taken over, maintained and operated by the RLC Petroleum Operator. The purpose of the TFHE pipeline is to have an uninterrupted supply of high grade kerosene from a ship anchored off shore to a forward airfield. The construction and operation of the Pipeline is a true "Purple Op." utilising the Royal Navy/Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force but it is the Humble Pet.Op. who is the "MEAT" of the sandwich.