The Royal Air Force has successfully completed a Voyager air-to-air refuelling flight, powered by an approximately 43% blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
Flying from RAF Brize Norton, over the North Sea and via Farnborough on its return home, the Voyager aircraft also undertook air-to-air refuelling with Typhoons, as part of planned training.
Made from waste-based sustainable feedstocks, such as used cooking oil, SAF reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to traditional jet fuel and will be key to reducing the RAF’s reliance on global supply chains and fossil fuels, while improving operational resilience.
Sustainable aviation future
This significant moment follows a series of recent milestones achieved by the RAF towards a sustainable aviation future, including the world first RAF Voyager flight fuelled by 100% SAF.
Defence Minister, Baroness Goldie said: “Greater use of alternative and sustainable fuel can only lead to positive outcomes for Defence, the United Kingdom, and our collective endeavour against climate change.
“This is not an easy undertaking by the RAF, but time and again we see that by working collaboratively with our partners across industry we can achieve crucial transformation.”
Sustainable Skies World Summit
Part of a two-day industry led conference – Sustainable Skies World Summit – the flight marks the UK aviation industry publishing its updated aviation Net Zero Carbon roadmap outlining how commercial aviation will become more sustainable and commercially viable.
The annual event, hosted at Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre, brings together various partners from industry to showcase the latest developments in sustainable aviation technology and support efforts moving towards the implementation phase of meeting its net zero commitment.
Supporting the RAF’s ambitions to be Net Zero by 2040, the Voyager flight was part of an existing task from the Chief of the Air Staff to gather the required data to inform the longer-term transition away from fossil fuels.
The RAF has identified that using SAF and alternative aviation fuels will be critical for the future operational capability of the RAF and wider military aviation.
Comprehensive SAF programme
The UK’s SAF programme is already one of the most comprehensive in the world and supports our vision to set the UK up to be a global leader in the development, production, and use of SAF.
Supporting the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy, new aviation technologies and fuels provide huge opportunities for economic growth, delivering jobs and prosperity across the country.
Chief of Staff Support and Chief Engineer, Air Vice-Marshal, Paul Lloyd said: “The continued success of sustainable aviation fuel is reassuring to see. If we are to achieve our net zero goal by 2040 then exploiting these technologies is going to be an enormous but worthwhile endeavour.
“Despite the challenge, the benefits of reducing our reliance on traditional supply chains and fossil fuels outweigh it.
“The RAF is proud to be leading in this area and I welcome the announcement introduction of commercial uses of SAF.”
Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter