Joby receives third extension of Agility Prime contract
Joby Aviation has received a third extension of its Agility Prime contract with the US Air Force worth $55m.
The announcement comes days after four USAF pilots became the first personnel to fly an eVTOL as sole pilot-in-command. The flights, conducted by the USAF personnel, were piloted remotely from the ground and came following completion of classroom-based and simulator training.
The $55m Agility Prime contract extension brings the total potential value of Joby’s current contract with the USAF up to $131m. As part of the agreement, Joby will deliver and operate up to nine of its aircraft. The first two aircraft are expected to be delivered to Edwards Air Force Base, California, by early 2024, and will be used to demonstrate a range of logistics use cases, including cargo and passenger transportation. They are also expected to become the first electric air taxis to be stationed at a US military base.
JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, said: “The Agility Prime program is a remarkably successful example of how public-private partnerships can deliver trailblazing technology at speed. We’re grateful for the support of the program and for the U.S. government’s wider commitment to global leadership in this important new sector.
“As well as allowing us to explore the wide range of potential use cases across the U.S. government, our defence partners have also provided us with high-impact support as we prepare for commercial operations in 2025,” he added.
Edwards Air Force Base is the USAF’s second largest base and has been the site of hundreds of significant aviation ‘firsts’. It’s where Captain Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1 first broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947. It is also where the space shuttle first landed on its initial return from earth’s orbit.
Lt. Col. Adam Brooks, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Emerging Technologies Combined Test Force commander, said: “We’re honoured to continue the tradition of accelerating emerging aviation technology as we become the first base to exercise electric air taxis as they are intended to be used in commercial operations. This opportunity will allow us first-hand experience with Joby’s revolutionary aircraft as we prepare to test this next generation of advanced air mobility.”
Joby’s partnership with the Department of Defense began more than five years ago, providing the firm with access to testing facilities, early operational experience for government customers, as well as a partial offset to its research and development costs.
Lt. Col. Tom Meagher, AFWERX Prime Lead, said: “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. Additionally, the Joby operations provide an outstanding opportunity for accelerated learning with the other Department of Defense services and government agencies, including NASA and the FAA.”