The US Air Force has begun ground testing of the General Electric F101 engine using a 50-50 mix of Fischer-Tropsch and JP-8 jet fuels. This is the first test series to qualify a high-performance, afterburning engine with FT fuel for a combat aircraft, the B-1B.
The Air Force’s synthetic fuel initiative has already resulted in the flight certification of the B-52 Stratofortress and successful qualification ground testing of the engine that powers both the C-17 Globemaster III and the Boeing 757 using the 50-50 blend.
The ground testing of the B-1B Lancer engine is the next step toward certifying the second bomber aircraft. Once the ground qualification is concluded, the Air Force will mount the engine back into an airplane and test it on a supersonic flight.