Joby Aviation, an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft player, has set a sustainability milestone by delivering the first-ever electric air taxi to Edwards Air Force Base.
Six months ahead of schedule, the achievement marks a significant step towards the development of new air mobility technologies for logistics missions and research endeavours.
The aircraft will play a role in demonstrating the potential of eVTOL technology in a range of logistics missions, including cargo and passenger transportation.
The aircraft, which has already taken to the skies at Edwards AFB, is not only the first electric air taxi to be stationed on a US military base but is also believed to be the inaugural delivery of an electric air taxi in the United States.
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This milestone directly results from Joby’s $131m AFWERX Agility Prime contract with the US Air Force.
Under the Agility Prime contract, Joby is set to provide up to nine aircraft to the US Air Force and other federal agencies, signalling a stride in adopting eVTOL technology within the US Government. A second aircraft is slated for delivery to Edwards AFB in early 2024.
In other eVTOL developments, the US Air Force received the installation of the first-ever electric aircraft charging station at Duke Field from AFWERX and division partner BETA Technologies. Duke Field is located ten miles north of Eglin Air Force Base.
The aircraft, crafted on Joby’s pilot production line in Marina, California, will call Edwards Air Force Base home for at least the following year. Joby has ensured seamless operations on-base, providing charging and ground support equipment in a facility designed by the US Air Force for joint flight test operations.
Collaborative flight testing and operations between the US Air Force and Joby will showcase the aircraft’s capabilities in realistic mission settings.
Furthermore, the on-base operations will encompass the training of US Air Force pilots and aircraft maintenance crews. This experience will offer the Department of Defense (DoD) insights into the performance of eVTOL aircraft.
Joby’s partnership with the DoD, which traces back to 2016, shows the power of public-private collaboration in propelling technological advancements.
With a range of up to 100 miles and a top speed of 200mph, the Joby aircraft represents a new mode of transportation, and emission-free travel.