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.