The Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom (UK) has successfully piloted the country’s first large military aircraft flight (RAF Voyager) using 100% sustainable fuel. The RAF Voyager, which is about the size of an Airbus A330, flew over Oxfordshire on Wednesday, powered by waste-based fuels, including used cooking oil.
The feat was described as “a breakthrough moment” for the RAF. Defense minister Baroness Goldie said: “The Royal Air Force has flown the UK’s first military air transport flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel on one of their operational Voyager aircraft.” They should be rightly proud of this achievement—it is a breakthrough moment for the RAF and an exciting development for the Ministry of Defense.
The flight was led by Airbus defense and space project pilot Jesus Ruiz and Rolls-Royce chief test pilot Andy Roberts. It was a joint endeavor between the RAF, the Ministry of Defense, and industry partners Airbus, AirTanker, and Rolls-Royce, with the fuel supplied by AirBP.
Synthetic fuel is made from water and carbon dioxide, which is put under pressure and has an electric current run through it. Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston described this flight as another “important milestone” en route to becoming the world’s first net-zero air force by 2040. Baroness Vere, aviation minister at the Department for Transport, said the success of the test flights was a “win for the planet and a testament to British ingenuity.” She added that the department had launched a £165 million fund aimed at boosting the sustainable fuel industry on its journey towards the first net-zero transatlantic flight next year.
“Through the RAF’s pioneering spirit, expertise, and partnership with U.K. industry, British science, and engineering are leading the way in improving operational resilience and developing future operating capability in a climate-changed world.”