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Sweden to carry out another biofuel test with a Gripen fighter

Biofuel Gripen fighter jet
Photo: Saab

The Swedish defense procurement agency FMV has extended a contract with GKN Aerospace Sweden for continued RM12 engine testing with a 50/50 mix of jet fuel and biofuel for the Gripen fighter jet.

According to GKN Aerospace, the biofuel for this test is an ATJ (alcohol to jet)-SKA solution, developed and manufactured by Swedish Biofuels AB.

The latest stage of testing is part of a bilateral biojet-project collaboration between FMV and the US Air Force and Naval Air Systems Command, which started in October 2013. The project is expected to complete in the fall of 2020.

In March 2017, a Gripen C/D with an RM12 engine completed a successful flight demonstration powered by hundred percent renewable biofuel. The biofuel used in that test (CHCJ-5) was developed by the US company ARA on a US Navy contract, and was fully interchangeable with normal jet fuel and approved for a limited flight test. No engine changes or modifications were required for this demonstration.

The 2020 test will demonstrate the capability in the engine test cells, flexibility in measurement systems, designing and feeding fuel to the engine.

“This is a milestone in the project which will allow us to do an engine test with a 50 percent admixture of biojet fuel based on ATJ/SKA forest waste, something which has not been done before,” FMV aircraft propulsion system specialist Erik Prisell said.

“This FMV contract will help us build understanding and in depth data, and takes us a further step towards sustainable aviation together with FMV,” Stefan Oscarsson, vice president for Government and Space Programs at GKN Aerospace said. “It’s an exciting milestone in a key growth area for GKN Aerospace.”

GKN Aerospace is also involved in the Clean Sky program which is the largest European research program developing innovative, cutting-edge technology aimed at reducing CO2, gas emissions and noise levels produced by aircraft.