The Indian Air Force tested out its first-ever biofuel-powered AN-32 transport aircraft with an aim to fly the aircraft powered with biofuel on Republic Day in January 2019.
In a bid to reduce its carbon footprint and dependence on aviation fuel imports, the Indian Air Force (IAF) tested out a biofuel-powered Russian made AN-32 transport aircraft on Monday. A team from Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment (ASTE) used 10 percent of biofuel produced from the plant Jatropha and 90 percent Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) for the test.
The transport aircraft was tested by a team of experimental test pilots and test engineers from ASTE. The aircraft took off from the Chandigarh airbase and remained airborne for about 45 minutes.
The project is a joint effort of IAF, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) and CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), reports Business Standard.
The project partners will be providing the required in-house testing facilities and financial support and the testing is done with an aim to fly the aircraft powered with biofuel on Republic Day in January 2019.
Post-converting AN-32 transport aircraft to biofuels, the IAF will replicate the same with the rest of its fleet of flying machines in service. The process of conversion will include MiG-29 and Su-30 MKI, reports Financial Express.
With this step, India will join the group of nations, including the US, to have tested military as well as commercial aircraft on indigenous biofuel jet. As per the IAF officials, the total expenditure on ATF costs Rs 42,000 crore, and with the inclusion of indigenous biofuel, the import costs will drop by 10-15 percent.
In August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that India could save $I.7 billion a year on its fuel import bills. He later urged the nation to switch to biofuels and in the same month, Spice Jet successfully tested a 72-seater commercial aircraft with biofuel.