Electra.aero awarded US Navy contract to explore STOL uses 


The US Navy has awarded Electra.aero a contract under the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).

The contract will explore the use of Electra’s electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft as a logistics solution in contested environments. Specifically, Electra will work with navy stakeholders to define specific contested logistics use cases and conduct a conceptual design study to evaluate how its hybrid-electric aircraft can address capability gaps the navy has.

“We’re honoured to add the U.S. Navy to our portfolio of US Department of Defense customers, including the US Air Force and US Army,” said Ben Marchionna, Electra’s director of Technology and Innovation. 

Contested logistics, a key topic of national security interest, describes the movement of military personnel or supplies to and from areas which are challenging to reach or support. 

“Electra’s eSTOL has all the right technology-enabled capabilities to help the Navy address next-generation aviation logistics challenges. With our differentiated combination of hybrid-electric propulsion and a blown fixed wing, we can offer Pacific theatre-relevant payloads and ranges, and the ability to operate from rough soccer field-sized spaces as well as many naval vessels and adjacent assets, all from day one,” said Marchionna.

Beyond “boilerplate” tactical logistics use cases, Marchionna said Electra also see their aircraft as an enabler for expeditionary power generation, mesh networking and even as an essential node for Joint All- Domain Command and Control (JADC2) employment. 

“These are all gamechangers for force modernisation initiatives within the Navy and Marine Corps,” he added.

Last week, Electra announced a small business business innovation research (SBIR) contract to begin powered wind tunnel testing. Valued at $1.9m, it will enable the army to explore the potential of Electra’s blown wing aircraft technology for military capabilities. The powered wind tunnel testing will also advance Electra’s novel aerodynamics database for use in performance analysis, simulator, and control law development.