Joby Aviation announced on April 25, 2023, that it will deliver its first two eVTOL aircraft to the US Air Force in early 2024.
Edwards Air Force Base, California, where these aircraft are going to be stationed, has a long history of being a testing ground for all sorts of new technologies, including the X-1 and X-15 experimental aircraft, which were used set test speed records between the 1940s and 1960s, as well as the Space Shuttle.
Another 7 Joby aircraft will follow, bringing the total fleet to nine.
This project takes place within the framework of a long-standing ongoing collaboration between Joby Aviation and the USAF, which has provided funding to the tune of $131 million, including a recent $55-million programme extension.
Four USAF pilots were recently at Joby Aviation’s facilities in Marina, California, to test the aircraft. This was the first time that military officers fly-tested (remotely from the ground) Joby’s all-electric aircraft. These were performed with solely the pilots in command testing the full flight envelope, including the transition from vertical lift-off to cruise flight.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Meagher, AFWERX Prime Lead “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 and use case validation for Advanced Air Mobility aircraft.”
The AFWERX program is an innovation program of the USAF that funds innovations for future tactical applications.