RAF to develop more sustainable training aircraft


The Royal Air Force is building two experimental aircraft to test sustainable flight technologies for greener training aircraft.

The aircraft are being developed for Project Monet, which started earlier this month. Project Monet aims to draw together expertise from across the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) and industry to evaluate how technologies can meet key military requirements and the whole-life environmental impact of operating a fleet of sustainable aircraft.

Sustainable aviation technologies being assessed by the project include battery power, synthetic fuelled internal combustion engines, hydrogen fuel cells and hybrid-electric powertrains.

The two-year project is being conducted in partnership with Babcock and UK-based light training aircraft manufacturer Swift Aircraft will also evaluate aspects of sustainable aviation such as logistics, ground operations, human factors, and certification. In so doing, the work will provide important information which can be readily transferred to other environmentally conscious capability projects and developments.

Group Captain Hackett, military head of flight test on Team Tempest said, “Monet will be an exciting journey into the future of sustainable flight for the RAF. We will develop and understand the technologies to enable future military aircrew and air cadets to begin their journey into aviation, and yet not adversely impact the world we all share, I can’t think of a better motivator to push us all onto success.”

Jon Russell, Babcock UK aviation engineering director said, “Sustainability is an increasingly important factor for the aviation industry and an integral part of our strategy to support our customers.”

David Stanbridge, managing director of Swift Aircraft said, “We are taking significant steps towards building a sustainable aviation future and the objectives of Project MONET are complementary to our goals. Together we will test and develop potential carbon-neutral technologies, providing data that is crucial to helping inform decisions about future flight operations.

Other companies involved in the program include aerospace company CFS Aero, synthetic fuel company Zero Petroleum, electric powertrain firm Delta Cosworth and materials recycling consultants Uplift 360.

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About Author


Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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