Electra, a “next-gen aerospace company” has announced its selection by the U.S. Air Force AFWERX innovation arm for a Strategic Funding Increase (STRATFI) award that secures up to USD85 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.
The company says its eSTOL is designed for operations from soccer field-sized spaces and represents a new class of aircraft, characterised by helicopter-like operational flexibility with performance and operating costs better than comparable fixed-wing aircraft. Further, it says “The eSTOL aircraft can operate in environments ranging from 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.”
According to the press release “Electra has received over 1,000 eSTOL aircraft orders from commercial customers around the globe 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.
“This STRATFI award secures an investment partnership that funds the rapid development, test, and evaluation of a full-scale pre-production prototype eSTOL aircraft which can be used by the Air Force to validate requirements and operational use cases.
“This effort builds directly from Electra’s six active USAF SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II and Phase III contracts which have matured each of the core aspects of eSTOL technology – distributed electric propulsion, blown lift aerodynamics and acoustics, precision flight controls, and hybrid-electric powertrains.”
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