The SAAB Gripen fighter further demonstrated its versatility with a series flights using 100 percent bio fuel.
The flights marked the first time a single-engined fighter flew with 100 percent biofuel. A twin seat Gripen D was used for the flights that took off from Saab’s facilities in Linköping, Sweden.
The bio fuel called CHCJ-5 was made of rapeseed oil, and the Volvo RM12 (license built GE F404) engine powering the Gripen made no difference as to whether the fuel is based on crude oil or vegetable oil.
“The test team noted no differences between the biofuel and the ordinary jet fuel, which means that biofuel can be used as a fully satisfactory alternative to ordinary jet fuel in Gripen,” says Göran Bengtsson, Director of Research and Technology SAAB.
“Flying with biofuel in operational service with Gripen requires, however, further certification of the fuel and access to fuel in the amounts that correspond to operational needs” he added.
The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) is behind the project and besides FMV, Saab and GKN Aerospace, which produces the engine (RM12) for the Gripen C/D, has participated in the project.
Through a bilateral agreement between Sweden and the United States, the US Navy and US Air Force have contributed with valuable knowledge and experience regarding certification of biofuel. System testing, ground testing and flight testing have been conducted at Saab in Linköping together with GKN Aerospace.