RAF Voyager which completed world-first sustainable fuel military transporter flight

Tuesday 22nd November 2022

The RAF and industry partners have carried out a world-first 100% sustainable fuel flight using a military aircraft of its size, and the first of any aircraft type in the UK.

  • First time an aircraft has flown in the UK using 100% sustainable aviation fuel on all engines
  • Potential to reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% while improving operational effectiveness
  • Another key step by the RAF towards achieving Net Zero by 2040

An RAF Voyager – the military variant of an Airbus A330 – took to the skies over Oxfordshire powered entirely by 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), paving the way for a range of possibilities for the future of flying military and civilian aircraft.

The flight, which took place on Wednesday, was a joint endeavour between the RAF, DE&S and industry partners Airbus, AirTanker and Rolls-Royce, with the fuel supplied by Air bp.

Sustainable aviation fuel – which is made from waste-based sustainable feedstocks, such as used cooking oil – reduces lifecycle carbon emissions on average by up to 80% compared to the conventional jet fuel it replaces, lessens the RAF’s reliance on global supply chains, and improves operational resilience.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston said:

“Climate change is a transnational challenge that threatens our resilience, our security and our collective prosperity. That is why I have set the RAF the ambitious challenge of becoming the world’s first net-zero Air Force by 2040. The way we power our aircraft will be key to meeting that challenge and the RAF is already thinking about how we will operate beyond fossil fuels.

“This exciting trial flight of a Voyager from RAF Brize Norton powered entirely by Sustainable Aviation Fuel is an important milestone on that journey, and marks another technological first for the RAF alongside our industry partners.”

Engineers from Airbus’ Commercial Aircraft and Defence and Space divisions have been working with the RAF, Rolls-Royce and Airtanker testing the aircraft’s performance and handling on the ground and in the air in preparation for the final flight with both engines powered by 100% SAF.

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From: Ministry of Defence Published 18 November 2022

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

See also: Sustainable fuel set to power the Royal Air Force reaches landmark new stage

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