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Breaking News: Royal Air Force Sets New Standard for Sustainability with In-Flight Refueling Using SAF

The Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) powered a successful air-to-air refuelling flight of the Royal Air Force’s Voyager aircraft, which was blended with approximately 43% of SAF made from waste-based sustainable feedstocks.

The Voyager aircraft flew over the North Sea and via Farnborough on its return home, and also undertook air-to-air refuelling with Typhoons as planned training. The use of SAF reduces lifecycle carbon emissions up to 80% compared to traditional jet fuel and will help reduce the RAF’s reliance on global supply chains and fossil fuels while improving operational resilience.

The RAF has achieved several milestones towards a sustainable aviation future, including the world’s first RAF Voyager flight fuelled by 100% SAF. The updated aviation Net Zero Carbon roadmap published by the UK aviation industry during the two-day Sustainable Skies World Summit, which included the Voyager flight, outlines how commercial aviation will become more sustainable and commercially viable.

Baroness Goldie, the Defence Minister, stated that the greater use of alternative and sustainable fuel can lead to positive outcomes for defence, the UK, and the fight against climate change. The RAF identified that using SAF and alternative aviation fuels will be critical for the future operational capability of the RAF and wider military aviation. The Voyager aircraft has a payload of 43 tonnes of freight and 291 seat passenger capacity, and supports troop mobility, the movement of military assets, and UK air defence.

During the Sustainable Skies World Summit, the Jet Zero Council (JZC), a partnership between industry and government, will meet to drive the delivery of new technologies and innovative ways to cut aviation emissions. The SAF for the flight was supplied by bp and sourced by International Airlines Group (IAG).

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