With the advancement of technology and the need for more fuel to power everything around us, manufacturers are turning to greener alternatives to do the same. Over the past few years, we have seen huge growth in the sector of eco-friendly automobiles. The same drive has spread to a larger industry, that of aviation. Earlier this year, SpiceJet had tested India’s first commercial flight which ran on biofuel. Now, the Indian Air Force has also stepped into the same arena. It has successfully tested its first military aircraft, flying using biofuel.
Painting The Skies Green
The test was carried out using an AN-32 transport aircraft and the Indian Air Force plans to use this biofuel powered An-32 for the flypast during the republic day parade. This was a step closer towards the same. The test was carried out by Test Pilots from the Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment (ASTE). But it must be noted that the entirety of the fuel used was not biofuel, and only 10% biofuel was used along with conventional aviation fuel. This is similar to the SpiceJet flight which used 25% biofuel and 75% aviation fuel.
The successful test was done with the help of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP). The fuel is made from Jatropha oil sourced from the Chattisgarh Biodiesel Development Authority (CBDA). It was then processed at the IIP facility in Dehradun. The Indian Air Force plans to have transport aircrafts flying with biofuel by 2021.
The test also added India’s name to a very elite list of countries which has done so. This includes the USA , which had done similar tests on transport and fighter aircrafts as well. The Indian Air Force added that they plan to expand this capability to their fighter jets as well. This includes the MiG 29 and the Su-30 MKI fighter jets.