Advanced air mobility (AAM) company Archer Aviation is pairing up with the US Air Force (USAF) to develop and study potential uses of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles by defense forces in coming years.
Archer, USAF team up to accelerate eVTOL development and opportunities
The agreement will involve Archer supplying the USAF data on the testing of its AAM aircraft as the company continues developing those toward Federal Aviation Administration certification. Details of the vehicles, their evolving capacities, and data from test flights will assist the USAF to identify opportunities for adoption of Archer’s eVTOL planes in its operations, and gain a fuller idea of emerging AAM activities globally.
The partnership offers benefits on both sides. Feedback will help Archer in the continuing development of its craft, and build a relationship with the USAF as an interested and very large potential buyer of eVTOL vehicles in the future.
Conversely, the link-up will provide a direct window into technologies, markets, and likely operational structure of budding AAM activities to the USAF’s AFWERX unit. That division is a non-traditional, multi-pole entity of leading Air Force geeks who team up with outside innovation technology developers to examine and accelerate their work.
AFWERX’s Agility Prime section focuses particularly on AAM development by “leveraging unique testing resources and revenue generating government use cases for distributed logistics and disaster response, (and assisting) the government plans to mitigate current commercial market and regulatory risks.” As part of that, Agility Prime will bring Archer into its “Race to Certification” program to drive government procurement of operational capability by 2023.
Agility Prime also aims to unite industry, investor, and government actors in the mutual goal of establishing safety and security standards, while also accelerating commercialization of AAM technology and services that promise to transform daily transportation. Becoming part of that Agility Prime community should provide lift to Archer’s efforts to get its Maker eVTOL airborne in looming flight trials.
“Through our partnership with the USAF, we hope to accelerate our flight testing timeline and demonstrate the technical readiness level and suitability of our aircraft for the United States Air Force’s desired applications,” said Brett Adcock, cofounder and co-CEO of Archer. “We’re looking forward to beginning flight tests of Maker in the months ahead as part of this agreement, which will showcase the advancements we’ve made in bringing our eVTOL aircraft to market.”
“Partnerships like this will enable the USAF to work closely with the designers and engineers behind the groundbreaking new technologies that are making eVTOL flight a reality,” said Colonel Diller of the USAF. “We believe that eVTOL aircraft represent a great leap forward in aerospace and we’re excited to be working on this new era of sustainable transportation.”