Electra announced its selection by the U.S. Air Force AFWERX innovation arm for a Strategic Funding Increase (STRATFI) award. This secures up to $85 million between private investments, government funding, and matching Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding for Electra’s development of a full-scale pre-production prototype electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft (U.S. Air Force).
eSTOL aircraft add operational flexibility
Electra’s eSTOL represents a new class of aircraft. It is characterized by helicopter-like operational flexibility with performance and operating costs better than comparable fixed-wing aircraft. This aircraft can operate in busy urban areas to remote landing strips, and fly missions including on-demand urban and regional air mobility, cargo logistics, executive transport, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, and more.
Electra has received over 1,000 eSTOL orders from commercial customers globally aiming to lower operating costs, access new markets through smaller ground footprints and lower noise profiles, and meet both customer and investor expectations for reduced carbon emissions.
The STRATFI award secures an investment partnership to fund the rapid development, testing, and evaluation of a full-scale pre-production prototype eSTOL aircraft. This can be used by the Air Force to validate requirements and operational use cases. It will leverage Electra’s upcoming world-first flight test of a two-seat piloted eSTOL technology demonstrator aircraft and substantially accelerates the transition path for Electra’s commercial nine-passenger eSTOL product aircraft to support Air Force missions of interest (U.S. Air).
Technology will enhance Air Force capabilities
“This STRATFI award reinforces the Air Force’s commitment to dual-use eSTOL technology as a solution for national security and other government missions, and validates Electra’s aircraft design and engineering work to date,” said John S. Langford, Founder and CEO of Electra. “The cost and risk advantages of eSTOL technology also make it a smart investment. We are honored to be chosen for this significant award and look forward to continuing our close collaboration with the Agility Prime team.”
“There is a significant gap in the Joint Force to provide logistics and sustainment to widely dispersed units across large contested geographical areas at the tactical edge,” said Ben Marchionna, Electra’s Director of Technology and Business Development. “Electra’s eSTOL is ideally suited to serve as a small highly fuel-efficient airlifter that helps the Air Force execute its Agile Combat Employment doctrine and meet its operational energy goals to reduce aviation carbon emissions. Small, affordable, runway-independent eSTOL aircraft could also alleviate demand on larger, few-in-number, high-performance fixed-wing, and rotorcraft platforms in a contested logistics environment. Our team is thrilled to help the Air Force solve this key national security priority.”
“It’s vital that we ensure new advanced air mobility technologies with dual-use applications are developed and manufactured here at home in the U.S.,” said Lieutenant Colonel John “Wasp” Tekell, Air Force Agility Prime Lead. “Electra’s eSTOL technology has the potential to deliver valuable logistics and mobility capabilities to the Air Force. We value our partnership with Electra and look forward to supporting their continued development and future transition.”