The U.S. Air Force (USAF) announced it has received its first electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft from Joby Aviation. The eVTOL was unveiled in a ceremony at Edwards Air Force Base in California Monday (Sept. 25)—some six months ahead of schedule. The delivery comes after the Air Force Research Laboratory announced a contract extension with Joby in April valued at up to $131 million with options for up to nine aircraft, according to Air & Space Forces Magazine.
Speaking at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held yesterday, Joby Executive Chairman Paul Sciarra revealed that the aircraft actually arrived at Edwards last week and has already completed three hover tests. “A second aircraft will arrive in early 2024,” he added. “Today’s delivery is a hugely significant moment for Joby and for our industry,” Sciarra said. “But more than that, it’s a validation of the long-term vision of the Department of Defense.”
According to the Air Force, Edwards offers the ideal elements required for extensive testing of eVTOL technology in the military role, with ample unfettered airspace and good prevailing weather conditions. Colonel Douglas Wickert, commander of the 412th Test Wing at Edwards, said, “Through the work of this test team, the electric dreams of today are going to become the aviation realities of tomorrow.”