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UK’s Royal Air Force achieves another SAF milestone


A C-130J Hercules prepares to land (Photo: Royal Air Force)

The U.K.’s Royal Air Force has used sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) blended with regular jet fuel to achieve the first SAF blend air-to-air refueling of a Typhoon and C-130 Hercules aircraft.




A RAF Voyager delivered the fuel to the Typhoon and Hercules.




The Voyager was previously used in successful initial trials in November where it flew on 100 percent SAF.




The leftover fuel from the Voyager trial was mixed with regular fuel at between 46 percent and 48 percent.




RAF worked with Air BP to recertify the fuel and achieve the required standards needed for a safe and effective mission.




A Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft (Photo: Jamie Hunter)

“This is another key achievement in the Royal Air Force’s remarkable progress to increase their use of sustainable fuel,” said Defense Minister Annabel Goldie. “With potential benefits for the environment and operational resilience, this important work alongside expert defense industry and scientific teams in the U.K. is crucial for the RAF’s future resilience.”




SAF, which is made from waste-based sustainable feedstocks such as used cooking oil, reduces lifecycle carbon emissions on average by up to 80 percent compared to conventional jet fuel. In time, increased use of SAF should lessen RAF’s reliance on global supply chains and fossil fuels and improve operational resilience.




Different approaches to reducing carbon emissions will suit different platforms and environments. As such, a range of alternative-fuel options are being looked at to ensure the U.K. is at the forefront of all developing technology.




“We have learned a great deal during this trial and now have confidence in our ability to use blends of SAF now and in the future,” said Gaz Evans, squadron leader and RAF supply project manager. “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 SAF blended at this level. We are hugely grateful to Air BP for their expertise in assisting us with the remanufacture and recertification process to enable this successful result.”

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