Joby, a leading developer of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, has expanded its partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD) in exploring potential applications of next-generation vehicles across all corps of the US military.
Santa Cruz, California-based Joby said its existing relationship with the DoD is being extended through its new association with the US Air Force’s Agility Prime program. Similar to other military research Joby is already involved with, Agility Prime explores ways eVTOL aircraft may be used by forces operating under DoD authority, and speed adoption of those deemed promising. Likely operations include medical evacuation, firefighting, civil and military disaster relief, search and rescue, and humanitarian assistance.
The move deepens Joby’s five-year relationship with defense agencies working under DoD aegis, and will leverage research and technology development already achieved while moving to undertake new testing of the company’s eVTOL capacities.
As part of that broadened DoD contract, Joby will begin working with the US Marine Corps, which will participate in government orchestrated eVTOL test flights and use case studies. The latter will include resupply, personnel relocation, emergency medical response, and other potential missions in cooperation with the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.
In making its announcement, Joby said its extended eVTOL relationship with the DoD will increase the potential value of the underlying contract by $45 million to a total of more than $75 million. Just as importantly, the company adds, its work with military partners will afford it access to testing facilities and insight into the early operational experiences of government customers.
All that, notes Joby CEO JoeBen Bervit, will partially offset the company’s research and development costs, and support its drive to launch eVTOL craft in commercial service like air taxis and other advanced air mobility uses.
“As we work toward our goal of launching a passenger ridesharing service, we’re grateful for the support of our defense partners,” said Bervit. “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.”