New Fuel for Tankers Next:

The Air Force probably will shift its alternative-fuels sights to the KC-135 tanker after it completes testing a 50-50 synthetic fuel blend on a B-52 bomber. Once the service is satisfied with the performance of the test-BUFF’s eight TF33 engines fueled by the synthetic mixture, the tanker’s CFM56 powerplant will come next, said Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of Air Force Materiel Command. In a briefing for reporters at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando Friday, Carlson noted that the CFM56 also is used in a variety of other aircraft. However, even if the Air Force is successful in operating the synthetic-fueled B-52 in the harsh winter conditions at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, that doesn’t necessarily mean synthetic fuels are right for high-performance jet engines just yet, Carlson added. He said there are currently no plans to try out the new blends on fighters.