IAF's workhorse to fly on bio-fuel containing tree-borne oils

Go-ahead given by certification agency after year-long trials

May 24, 2019 By Vishal Thapar Photo(s): By IAF
IAF Chief BS Dhanoa gave a big push to the use of bio fuel on military transport aircraft

The formidable workhorse of the Indian Air Force (IAF) transport fleet, the Antonov-32, will now fly on aviation fuel blended with tree-borne oils sourced from tribal areas.

The Russian-made AN-32 fleet was formally given the go-ahead by the certification agency CEMILAC on May 24 to fly on fuel containing up to 10 per cent indigenous bio-jet fuel.

"The IAF has undertaken a series of evaluation tests and trials with this green aviation fuel for the last one year. The scope of these checks was in consonance with the international aviation standards. Today's approval is an acknowledgement of the meticulous testing using the indigenous bio-jet fuel by the IAF," its spokesperson Group Captain Anupam Banerjee declared in a statement.

The indigenous bio-jet fuel was first produced by the CSIR-IIP lab at Dehradun in 2013, but could not be tested or certified for commercial use on aircraft due to lack of test facilities in the civil aviation sector. On 27 July, 2018, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC had formally announced IAF's intention to permit the use of all its resources for testing and certifying the indigenous fuel. Since then, IAF's flight test crew and engineers have been evaluating the performance of this fuel against international standards.

The approval certificate was handed over by the CEMILAC chief executive P Jayapal to Air Commodore Sanjiv Ghuratia at the aero-engine test facilities at Chandigarh.