Home DRONE NEWSeVTOL Joby Widens USAF Partnership, Will Deliver 2 eVTOL Aircraft to MacDill AFB

Joby Widens USAF Partnership, Will Deliver 2 eVTOL Aircraft to MacDill AFB

by Editor
Joby Widens USAF Partnership, Will Deliver 2 eVTOL Aircraft to MacDill AFB

Joby Aviation, Inc a company developing electric air taxis for commercial passenger service, announced it will deliver two aircraft to MacDill Air Force Base (“AFB”) in 2025 as part of the Company’s AFWERX Agility Prime contract with the U.S. Air Force.

MacDill AFB is home to the U.S. Special Operations Command (“USSOCOM”), U.S. Central Command (“CENTCOM”), and units from the Air Mobility Command (“AMC”), along with numerous logistics-oriented units. Personnel will test and train with the aircraft based at MacDill AFB, on base and in the surrounding area.

Joby delivered its first aircraft to Edwards Air Force Base in California in September 2023, with a second aircraft expected to be placed on the base this year. At Edwards, the Joby team is working closely with the 412th Test Wing on testing and experimentation that will inform future operational testing at MacDill AFB in Tampa, Florida. Joby’s Agility Prime contract includes the provisioning of up to nine aircraft total to the U.S. Air Force and other federal agencies. In 2020, Joby became the first eVTOL developer to receive military airworthiness approval for its pre-production prototype aircraft.

At MacDill AFB, Joby will be working directly with DoD operational units for the first time, enabling units to carry out representative logistics missions and test use cases in personnel transport, casualty evacuation, and support of security forces. Initial evaluations have demonstrated that the low maintenance requirements and operating costs, high speed, and low acoustic footprint of eVTOL aircraft like Joby’s can enable a diverse array of DoD use cases. Joby will continue to train USAF pilots and maintainers, and other government partners, on this new category of electric aircraft.

“The early investment and vision by the US government in this critical technology is proving foundational as we continue our path toward commercial passenger service. We’re grateful to our partners at the Department of Defense for their ongoing support and continued leadership in adopting eVTOL technology,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby. “We’re looking forward to working with units at MacDill Air Force Base as we further explore the potential use cases for our aircraft, demonstrating its capabilities in realistic settings.”

“This work will provide Joby with valuable early operational experience, while providing the USAF with firsthand understanding of the performance of our aircraft and its potential applications,” added Bevirt.

Joby’s electric air taxi is designed to carry a pilot and four passengers at speeds of up to 200 mph, offering high-speed mobility with a fraction of the noise produced by helicopters and zero operating emissions.

“The Agility Prime team is very excited to progress through a novel acquisition approach,” said Lt Col John Tekell, Agility Prime Branch Chief. “These two aircraft at MacDill AFB allow the program to take the next steps in learning to maximize the operational opportunity of eVTOLs.”

U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, and Army aviators, ground crews and program managers have made multiple visits to Joby’s manufacturing and flight test facilities in Marina, CA for ongoing flight training and mission analysis regarding potential logistics, medical, and personnel transport applications of the aircraft.

Joby’s longstanding partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD) dates back to its 2016 engagement with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), which granted the Company early funding as well as access to test ranges and expertise that have aided its aircraft development program. Since then, Joby has expanded its work to include the AFWERX Agility Prime program, with Joby’s current and previously completed work with the DoD representing a total potential contract value of $163 million, the largest in the industry. Joby announced in February that it has completed the third of five stages of the type certification process required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for commercial service.

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