Elec­tra has been select­ed by the US Air Force AFWERX inno­va­tion arm for a Strate­gic Fund­ing Increase (STRATFI) up to $85 mil­lion between pri­vate invest­ments, gov­ern­ment fund­ing, and match­ing Small Busi­ness Inno­va­tion Research (SBIR) fund­ing to devel­op a full-scale pro­to­type elec­tric short take­off and land­ing (eSTOL) air­craft.

Designed for oper­a­tions from soc­cer field-sized spaces, Electra’s eSTOL rep­re­sents a new class of air­craft, char­ac­terised by heli­copter-like oper­a­tional flex­i­bil­i­ty with per­for­mance and oper­at­ing costs bet­ter than com­pa­ra­ble fixed-wing air­craft.

It 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.

Elec­tra has received over 1,000 eSTOL air­craft orders from com­mer­cial cus­tomers around the globe. This STRATFI award funds rapid devel­op­ment, test and eval­u­a­tion of a full-scale pre-pro­duc­tion pro­to­type eSTOL air­craft.

It will lever­age Electra’s upcom­ing test of a two-seat pilot­ed eSTOL demon­stra­tor and accel­er­ates the tran­si­tion to Electra’s com­mer­cial nine-pas­sen­ger eSTOL prod­uct air­craft to sup­port Air Force mis­sions of inter­est.

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 core aspects of dis­trib­uted elec­tric propul­sion, blown lift aero­dy­nam­ics and acoustics, pre­ci­sion flight con­trols and hybrid-elec­tric pow­er­trains.

Under the STRATFI con­tract, Elec­tra will fur­ther strength­en its part­ner­ship with the AFWERX Agili­ty Prime pro­gram, char­tered with expand­ing tech­nol­o­gy tran­si­tion paths to accel­er­ate emerg­ing dual-use mar­kets by lever­ag­ing gov­ern­ment resources for rapid and afford­able field­ing, while bol­ster­ing U.S. tech advan­tage.

“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 Elec­tra founder and CEO John Lang­ford.

Elec­tra direc­tor of tech­nol­o­gy Ben Mar­chion­na added: “Electra’s eSTOL is ide­al­ly suit­ed to serve as a small high­ly fuel-effi­cient air­lifter that helps the Air Force exe­cute agile com­bat and meet oper­a­tional ener­gy goals to reduce avi­a­tion car­bon emis­sions.”

Air Force Agili­ty Prime Lead Lieu­tenant Colonel John Tekell con­tin­ued: “It’s vital that we ensure new advanced air mobil­i­ty tech­nolo­gies with dual-use appli­ca­tions are devel­oped and man­u­fac­tured in the US.

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.”