NEW DELHI: Indian Air Force (IAF) got a formal go-ahead on Friday to fly it’s AN 32 transport aircraft fleet on blended aviation turbine fuel. IAF said, “formidable workhorse, the Russian made AN-32 aircraft was formally fleet certified to fly on blended aviation fuel containing up to 10% of indigenous bio-jet fuel.”
The approval certificate was formally handed over by Mr P Jayapal, Chief Executive CEMILAC (The Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification) to Air Commodore Sanjiv Ghuratia VSM at the aero-engine test facilities at Chandigarh on behalf of the IAF. CEMILAC is a laboratory of the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) which does the military certification.
The first AN 32 was flown in December 2018 using the bio-jet fuel. The IAF flight test crew and engineers have 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 international aviation standards.
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.
By using bio-fuel Air Force plans to save money on its fuel bill. This is a huge step in promoting the ‘Make in India’ mission as this bio-fuel would be produced from Tree Borne Oils (TBOs) sourced from tribal areas and farmers, augmenting their income substantially.
The IAF plans to gradually start using this blended fuel for its fighter jets like Su-30MKi and Mig-29.
AN-32 is Twin engine turboprop, medium tactical transport aircraft of Russian origin with a crew of five and capacity to carry 39 paratroopers or max load of 6.7 tonnes. It has a max cruise speed of 530 km/hr.