The Royal Air Force (RAF) has used sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) blended with regular jet fuel to achieve the first SAF blend air-to-air refueling.
A RAF Voyager, the military variant of the Airbus A330 delivered the fuel to a Typhoon fighter and C-130 Hercules aircraft.
The Voyager was previously used in flight tests conducted during November 2022, when it flew on 100% SAF. The leftover fuel from the Voyager trial was mixed with regular fuel at around 46-48% for the air-to-air refueling flight.
The RAF worked with Air BP to re-certify the fuel and achieve the required standards needed for a safe and effective mission.
RAF supply project manager, squadron leader Gaz Evans said, “We have learnt a great deal during this trial and now have confidence in our ability to use blends of SAF now and in the future. The trial proved there is no detriment to performance as we strive towards reduced emissions targets.
“This was a first for both Typhoon and the Hercules and we believe that we are the first Air Force to conduct an Air-to-Air refuel operation with a sustainable aviation fuel bend at this level (46-48%). We are hugely grateful to Air BP for their expertise in assisting us with the re-manufacture and re-certification process to enable this successful result. ”
Baroness Goldie, UK Defence Minister said, “This is another key achievement in the Royal Air Force’s remarkable progress to increase their use of sustainable fuel. With potential benefits for the environment and operational resilience, this important work alongside expert defense industry and scientific teams in the UK is crucial for the RAF’s future resilience.”