These test flights, which were conducted with a Gripen D dual seat aircraft, marked the first time that a single-engine fighter has flown on 100% biofuel.
The test pilots noted no differences between the rapeseed oil-based biofuel (CHCJ-5) and ordinary jet fuel, proving that Gripen can use biofuel as a fully satisfactory alternative to crude oil.
If Gripen is to use biofuel while in operational service, the fuel must undergo further certification. All aircraft fuel must fulfill the same set of requirements, regardless of the raw material. Luckily, Saab has gained valuable insight on biofuel certification from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force, thanks to a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Sweden.
"Demonstrating that Gripen can fly with 100% biofuel is an important step in making Gripen future-safe," says Göran Bengtsson, Director of Research and Technology for Future Business within Saab's Aeronautics business area. "And in the long term, we hope to contribute to reducing the environmental impact of military aviation."