Air Force Conducts First ever Supersonic Fischer-Tropsch Fuels Test
The Air Force last week expanded its synthetic fuels testing program by performing a supersonic demonstration flight of a B-1B Lancer powered by a fuel mixture made using the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process, the same technique used to produce coal-to-liquid (CTL) transportation fuels. The test flight took place March 19 at Dyess Air Force Base (AFB) in Texas.
The flight included both high and low-level operations, in addition to the supersonic test. This latest test flight follows a successful C-17 flight that touched down at New Jersey’s McGuire AFB last December, marking the first ever Air Force transcontinental flight powered by an FT jet fuel mixture.
The Air Force already has certified its fleet of B-52 aircraft to fly using FT fuels and hopes to certify its entire fleet of aircraft to use FT fuels by 2011. Ultimately, the Air Force is aiming to utilize U.S.-produced FT fuels, the majority of which would be made using coal, to meet half of its domestic aviation fuel needs beginning in 2016.