The RAF must evolve including in its approach to sustainability if it is to deliver “battle-winning capability”, said Wing Commander Ant Fenner.
Speaking at the Farnborough International Airshow, Fenner said the RAF goal of reaching net zero by 2024 was ambitious but necessary.
He said: “It’s a big challenge, but the RAF must evolve to operate and deliver battle-winning capability in the future operating environment, which includes climate change, so we won’t tackle that problem unless we address the issue of the amount of fossil fuels that we use.
“We’re demonstrating that it’s feasible, economically viable, and achievable, to replace that with synthetic fuel.”
He added: “It’s hugely important we’ve set ourselves that ambitious task and challenge of net zero by 2040. We’re well on the way to achieving it.”
The RAF, in collaboration with Zero Petroleum, have won a Guinness World Record for the world’s first successful flight using only synthetic fuel.
The synthetic fuel is manufactured by extracting hydrogen from water and carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide, which is then combined using energy generated from renewable sources.
It has the potential to save between 80 per cent to 90 per cent of carbon per flight without compromising aircraft performance.
In November 2022, an RAF Voyager – the military variant of an Airbus A330 – took to the skies over Oxfordshire powered entirely by 100 nper cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), paving the way for a range of possibilities for the future of flying military and civilian aircraft.
The flight was a joint endeavour between the RAF, DE&S and industry partners Airbus, AirTanker and Rolls-Royce, with the fuel supplied by Air bp.
Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter