US Air Force Seeks Electra For Ultra-Short Takeoff Aircraft
Could Electra’s aircraft compete with some of the best eVTOL craft we’ve seen recently?
- Electra will develop eSTOL aircraft capable of taking off in less than 150 feet.
- These craft have less than half the operating costs of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) types.
- Hybrid-electric systems are poised to transform how the USAF powers future craft.
The US Air Force (USAF) has signed a contract with Electra.aero, the goal? To strengthen advanced air mobility via the development of hybrid-electric propulsion systems for unique aircraft.
You’ve more than likely heard of electric takeoff and landing (eVTOL) craft before? Well, Electra is working on something a little different in electric ultra-short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft.
These eSTOL aircraft can take off or land on a runway as short as 150 feet. To give you a real-world example, this allows the craft to land on urban rooftops and other spaces — similar to the eVTOL craft we’ve covered extensively in recent weeks.
Moreover, the costs of operating such an aircraft are less than half of eVTOL alternatives, according to Electra, which could make them a force to be reckoned with.
© Credit to Electra
While it still relies on standard fuel, you can’t deny the appeal of an eSTOL aircraft like this. Electra claims the aircraft can travel up to 500 miles before needing to touch down.
Electra has already built a test propulsion system and plans to fly a two-seat demonstration aircraft in 2022.
A commercial version is slated for type certification around 2026 that could prove a game-changer when it comes to “cargo logistics” and “air ambulance services.”
“Electra is thrilled to be working in tandem with the US Air Force and its innovative Agility Prime team to accelerate the tech transition of eSTOL into the commercial marketplace. These next-gen, low-carbon systems will solve several critical defence-related capability gaps while leveraging affordable commercial marketplace solutions.”
— Ben Marchionna, Director of Technology & Innovation at Electra
The USAF will look to transform how it flies with Electra in toe. This is all part of the Agility Prime program in a bid to change air mobility for the better.
Agility Prime’s Deputy Lead, Major John “Wasp” Tekell, adds: “Agility Prime is excited to partner with Electra on their recent Phase II SBIR contract award. We look forward to exploring the unique capabilities of this design while continuing to accelerate the electric aviation industry.”
Is this the first time you’ve heard of eSTOL aircraft? Let us know via social media.