The US Air Force received its first electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft from Joby Aviation on September 25, 2023, approximately six months earlier than the expected delivery date.
The aircraft, believed to be the first electric air taxi delivered in the US, was received at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
The milestone is crucial in evaluating the potential of eVTOLs for both civilian and military applications. The aircraft will be used to demonstrate a range of logistics missions, including cargo and passenger transportation, and will be operated by both Joby and US Air Force personnel from the newly-established Emerging Technologies Integrated Test Force.
“As we forge forward and embrace the future of advanced air mobility, our legacy is a testament to the enduring spirit of exploration,” said Colonel Douglas Wickert, commander of the 412th Test Wing. “Through the work of this test team, the electric dreams of today are going to become the aviation realities of tomorrow.”
Edwards Air Force Base livestreamed the delivery on its YouTube channel, where a military ceremony can be seen prior to the unveiling of the aircraft, including a live performance of the US national anthem.
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NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center will also use the aircraft for research focused on how eVTOLs could fit into the national airspace, benefiting the entire air taxi industry.
The delivery is part of Joby’s $131 million AFWERX Agility Prime contract with the US Air Force.
Joby’s current and previously completed work with the Department of Defense represents a total potential contract value of $163 million, the largest in the eVTOL industry.
A second eVTOL aircraft is planned to be delivered to Edwards Air Force Base in early 2024.