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USAF Begins Testing 50/50 Renewable Jet Blend in F-16 Engine

An F110 engine that powers the F-16 Fighting Falcon recently began performance testing at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC), Arnold Air Force Base, Arnold, Tennessee, using a 50/50 blend of JP-8 conventional aviation fuel and a renewable jet fuel (HRJ, Hydroprocessed Renewable Jet) derived from camelina oil.

The testing recently initiated at AEDC will be the first dedicated, uninstalled engine tests conducted by the Air Force [on HRJ blended fuel]. These will also be the first engine tests conducted by the Air Force [on HRJ blended fuel] in a facility that can simulate altitude effects on the aircraft. The data produced will be very, very valuable in this program. In fact, we plan on using that data to justify and support upcoming flight tests of the F-22, the C-17 and then possibly even the F-15.

—Jeff Braun, the Air Force’s Alternative Fuels Certification Office director

Testing will simulate the overall engine conditions experienced in the full flight envelope and include ignition light-off, throttle transients, augmenter lights and sequencing along with screech and rumble monitoring.

Military aircraft engines operate with afterburners to enhance thrust, but these can create large unsteady pressure oscillations termed screech and rumble, which can damage the afterburner structure.

AEDC is producing the baseline data that enables us to go forward and prove that these fuels are viable fleet-wide for the Air Force. We purposefully picked the F110 and F100 because they are what we consider the most challenging and the most fleet-representative engines across the Air Force. Our strategy is to have the engines tested and certified using AEDC’s facilities, and then use that data to support any other actual flight testing that we conduct within the Air Force.

—Jeff Braun

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