Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Archer Aviation has now received its first pay installment from the United States Air Force (USAF) towards a $142 million contract that was jointly signed in July 2023.
The first installment, for nearly $1 million, is for a mobile flight simulator that will begin training Air Force pilots and personnel on Archer’s eVTOL aircraft capabilities, before advancing to piloted flight testing with Archer’s Midnight aircraft.
Under the $142 million deal, the USAF will purchase up to six of Archer’s Midnight aircraft. The agreement also includes the sharing of additional flight test data and certification related test reports, pilot training and the development of maintenance and repair operations.
The simulator will also be deployed for key public and industry events, to help increase public awareness and engagement with eVTOL technology.
The initial payment is expected to be the first of many made to Archer by the USAF, signaling the ongoing advancement of a partnership that has been established since 2021.
The relationship forms part of the AFWERX Agility Prime program, which sees the USAF partner up with the eVTOL aircraft commercial industry to “propel the third revolution in aerospace”.
Several more of Archer’s deliverables are already underway with the USAF as part of the contracts, which include the sharing of wind tunnel testing reports, project specific certification plans (PSCPs) and Subject Specific Certification Plans (SSCPs).
Adam Goldstein, Archer’s CEO and founder, said: “Archer’s eVTOL technology can help maintain the United States’ position as a global leader in aviation. To see our historic contract with the U.S. Air Force move from signature to execution at a rapid pace is a reflection of the strong commitment that the U.S. Department of Defense has made to securing our country’s future by investing in transformational technology.”