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June 17, 2024
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Joby Aviation could be tapping into a new market for its eVTOL vehicles, having signed a contract with the US Air Force to deliver nine aircraft to them. The Air Force will test the electric vehicles to check if they fit into its passenger and cargo operations. US Air Force to test Joby eVTOLs next year.

The $55 million contract was announced today. The first two Jobys will be delivered in March 2024 to the Edward Air Force Base in California, with seven more to follow in subsequent years. Joby and the Air Force have been collaborating on potential eVTOL applications since 2020 as part of the Agility Prime project. Today’s contract extension is the third since then and brings to total value to $131 million.

The contract is believed to be the first between an eVTOL start-up and the military. Joby, which remains the owner of its vehicles but plans to operate them under contracts with airlines, announced a deal with Delta Air Lines last October. Delta plans to use the Joby around New York and Los Angeles for passenger flights from 2025, followed by other cities at a later stage.

The delivery of the first two Jobys in March 2024 means that the US Air Force will get its hands on the vehicle before it is certified. Joby says it is on track with this and hopes to launch commercial services in 2025.

Four Air Force pilots have been testing the Joby in recent days at Joby’s Marina test facility. They were only flying the vehicle through remote control but tested various stages of flight, including vertical take-off and the transition to horizontal flight. The pilots also tested the Joby simulator.

“This next step of getting Air Force pilots trained and operating Joby aircraft at an Air Force installation is an incredibly important milestone for the program, providing key insights to actual operations and use case validation for Advanced Air Mobility aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Tom Meagher in a media statement. “Additionally, the Joby operations provide an outstanding opportunity for accelerated learning with the other Department of Defense services and government agencies, including NASA and the FAA.”   

author avatar
Richard Schuurman
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016. Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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