Joby Aviation, the California-based manufacturer of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, says it is expanding a partnership with the US Department of Defense (DoD) to the tune of $45 million.


Source: Joby Aviation

Joby Aviation’s prototype eVTOL aircraft has already been certified as airworthy by the FAA and USAF

The company said on 10 August that the new contract with the US Air Force (USAF) boosts the potential value of Joby’s defence-related business to $75 million.

“As we work toward our goal of launching a passenger ride-sharing service, we’re grateful for the support of our defence partners,” says Joby founder and chief executive JoeBen Bevirt. “This extension provides valuable support for our ongoing development efforts and allows our partners to see first-hand the potential for this aircraft in their future concept of operations.”

Under a previous agreement with the DoD, Joby has been developing an eVTOL platform as part of the USAF’s Agility Prime programme. Administered by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s AFWERX technology directorate, Agility Prime is described by the USAF as the service’s “transformative vertical lift programme”.

According to the AFWERX website, Agility Prime partners government scientists with commercial eVTOL developers with the goal of fielding a new class of air mobility systems by 2023.

Joby notes that the recent contract expansion includes the US Marine Corps, which the company says will participate in government-directed test flights. Possible military applications for eVTOL aircraft include resupply, relocation of personnel, and emergency medical response applications, Joby says.

A pre-production prototype of the Santa Cruz-headquartered company’s four-passenger eVTOL aircraft has already received airworthiness approval from both the USAF and civil regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Joby says that aircraft currently has a maximum range of 130nm (241km), and can reach speeds of up to 174kt (322km/h).