Jump Aero and Oklahoma State University win US Air Force contract



Jump Aero and Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) Unmanned Systems Research Institute have been awarded a Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) research contract from the US Air Force. The contract is part of Agility Prime, a programme designed to accelerate the commercial market for dual-use advanced air mobility vehicles.

The two will provide a low-cost platform for the calibration of navigational aids (NAVAID) and instrument landing systems (ILS).

Today, ILS systems are calibrated with an extensive instrument package aboard large, manned aircraft by the FAA’s Flight Inspection Division.

OSU has been working with the FAA to evaluate the potential of drone technology in combination with software defined radios to reduce the cost and increase the safety of NAVAID/ILS inspection. But flying a drone on final approach would typically require runway closure.

Jump’s subscale demonstrator could potentially allow ILS calibration by unmanned aircraft without the need to shut down an active approach because its JA1 eVTOL will be capable of flying approaches at speeds that would enable seamless integration with existing air traffic at airports.

There is potential for these ILS calibrations to be much more practical and cost effective for both the FAA and the Air Force in the future.

“The Jump JA1 concept is a unique approach that will provide many benefits to manned and unmanned flight alike and we are excited to help see it to fruition,” said professor Jamey D. Jacob, director of OSU Unmanned Systems Research Institute.

“Jump Aero is thrilled to have been selected for this Phase I contract through the Agility Prime program,” said Carl Dietrich, founder and president of Jump Aero.

Jump is developing the JA1 eVTOL aircraft to help first responders get to the scene of an emergency as fast as possible. The capabilities of the JA1 aircraft also have potential defence utility, as part of the research conducted through the contract.