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Synthetic fuel testing begins on fighter engine

  • Published
  • By Janae Daniels
  • Arnold Engineering Development Center Public Affairs
Engineers at Arnold Engineering Development Center began testing a Pratt & Whitney F100 engine April 29 in the J-1 simulated altitude jet engine test cell using a blend of alternative synthetic fuel.  The engine is the power plant for the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Once testing and evaluation is complete, this will be the first fighter jet engine to use the synthetic blend.

Since 2006, AEDC specialists have taken an active role in supporting the U.S. Air Force's Alternative Fuels Certification Office in the evaluation and certification of the synthetic paraffinic kerosene alternative fuel, which is derived from natural gas or coal using the Fischer-Tropsch process, for use in all Air Force aircraft.

Testing at AEDC on the General Electric F101 engine, the power plant for the B-1 Lancer bomber, was the first series of testing of a high performance, afterburning engine with FT fuel for a combat aircraft. This engine also was tested in the center's J-1 high altitude jet engine test cell.

Air Force officials have already certified the engines for the B-52 Stratofortress bomber to operate on FT fuel, and the C-17 Globemaster III transport has flown on SPK fuel.

The successful flight of the B-1B March 19 helped to reinforce the feasibility of the projected timeline for the Air Force's alternative fuels initiative.

Since 1969, AEDC has logged more than 20,000 hours testing the F100 engine. 

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