The flight was a joint endeavour between the RAF, the Defence Equipment and Support unit of the United Kingdom and industrial partners such as Airbus, AirTanker and Rolls-Royce. Air BP supplied fuel. The 90-minute return flight from RAF Brize Norton, flown by a combined Airbus, RAF and Rolls-Royce flight-test crew, replicated an air-to-air refuelling sortie and was witnessed by senior RAF and industry representatives. The RAF said it demonstrated the potential for its future operational capability, ensuring the ability to contribute to UK defence wherever and whenever required.
Sustainable fuel is seen as the future of conventional aviation after fossil equivalents are depleted. It is known that Airbus has been carrying out intense studies and conducted test flights with blended SAF in the near past. There are some alternative technologies to manufacture new-generation fuel. SAF is made from waste and residue raw materials such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste. The new fuel studies focus on the commercial and technical development of new sustainable and scalable raw materials and technologies enabling their use. Some companies are exploring alternative fuel manufacturing methods, such as algae, municipal solid waste, lignocellulosic, and renewable hydrogen. Sustainable Aviation Fuel – which is made from waste-based sustainable feedstocks instead of conventional fuel, in this case, used cooking oil – reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared, lessens the RAF’s reliance on global supply chains and improves operational resilience by reducing the necessity for fuel resupplying.