Joby Aviation will deliver up to nine of its electric flying vehicles to the Air Force and other government partners, Air Force Research Laboratory said this week.
The first two Joby aircraft — described as “low acoustic signature, zero-operating emissions aircraft” — will be delivered to Edwards Air Force Base in California early next year, AFRL said.
AFRL is headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Joby Aviation, Inc. said the $55 million contract extension brings the total potential value of its contract with the Air Force up to $131 million.
“This next step of getting Air Force pilots trained and operating Joby aircraft at an Air Force installation is an incredibly important milestone for the program, providing key insights to actual operations, maintenance information and use case validation for Advanced Air Mobility aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Tom Meagher, division chief for the organization exploring uses for the vehicles, AFWERX Prime.
Four Air Force pilots remotely flew a Joby electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft at the company’s Marina, Calif., manufacturing facility April 20, AFRL said. Sometimes the vehicles are called “flying cars” or “flying taxis.”
The Air Force wants to test the five-seat eVTOLs, with AFWERX and the Air Force Test Center at Edwards involved.
“The aircraft mark a new phase in the program’s efforts to bring zero-emissions aviation into the military and ensure a robust domestic market for eVTOL aircraft,” AFRL said.
Joby Aviation has worked in the Dayton-Springfield area, as well. In late 2020, Joby representatives participated in a groundbreaking for an “advanced urban air mobility technology simulator” facility at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport.
The simulator is designed to be used by BETA Technologies and Joby.
Over the years, Springfield has become increasingly important to Air Force research. Its airspace has also been approved for testing beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities for unmanned aircraft or drones above the airport.
“The Agility Prime program is a remarkably successful example of how public-private partnerships can deliver trailblazing technology at speed,” JoeBen Bevirt, Joby founder and chief executive, said in AFRL’s recent announcement. “We’re grateful for the support of the program and for the U.S. government’s wider commitment to global leadership in this important new sector. As well as allowing us to explore the wide range of potential use cases across the U.S. government, our defense partners have also provided us with high-impact support as we prepare for commercial operations in 2025.”
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