The US Department of Defense (DoD) has expanded its partnership with BETA Technologies to install the first-ever electric aircraft charging station at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
The Level 3 DC fast-charger will support onsite electric vehicle experimentation, marking the next step in a long-standing partnership between BETA and the DoD through its AFWERX Agility Prime Program.
The contract was officially launched in 2020 and has seen the partners accelerate the adoption of electric aviation within the US military and commercial market. BETA became the first electric aircraft developer to receive an airworthiness certificate for manned flight from the military, and has also conducted the industry’s only piloted qualitative evaluation flights with test pilots from the Air Force and Army.
This partnership to assess the viable mission sets and applicability of BETA’s electric aircraft and chargers will continue with the delivery of BETA’s ALIA aircraft to Eglin Air Force Base this fall. BETA’s multimodal and interoperable electric charger will be able to charge an electric aircraft in under an hour.
Designed to the standard agreed upon by a large majority of the AAM industry through the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) recent ‘Interoperability of Electric Charging infrastructure’ whitepaper, BETA’s chargers are capable of supporting all-electric aircraft, as well as ground electric vehicles.
“Charging station installation is a critical step to unleash test and experimentation with the DoD to leverage emerging electric aviation technology as a capability for the warfighter,” said Major Anthony Zartman, Agility Prime program manager team lead.
“Two charging test sites will be set up by the end of the year to explore the utility of Electric Vehicle fleet modernisation as well as base and flight line support equipment to improve energy use and reduce emissions.”
BETA CEO and founder Kyle Clark added: “We are honoured that the first-ever fixed electric aircraft charger on a Department of Defense installation is a BETA charger. The DOD, and specifically AFWERX’s Agility Prime team, have been invaluable partners, offering deep insights to help us progress our technology at Duke Airfield.”
BETA has now activated 13 sites from Vermont to Florida and Arkansas, and has 55 more in development or construction along the east and gulf coasts. Its all-electric aircraft, ALIA CTOL and ALIA VTOL, are progressing towards FAA certification and anticipating entry into service in 2025 and 2026 respectively.
In May, AFWERX chose Near Earth Autonomy to collaborate on a reliability standard for autonomous aerial transport as part of the Autonomy Prime program.