Electra Aero Receives USD1.9 Million SBIR Contract from U.S Army 

Elec­tra Aero, the man­u­fac­tur­er of elec­tric Short Take-Off and Land­ing (eSTOL) air­craft, has received a USD1.9 mil­lion Small Busi­ness Inno­va­tion Research (SBIR) con­tract from the U.S Army, for pow­ered wind tun­nel test­ing of its hybrid-pow­ered craft, reports a press release.

The release states, “The award enables the U.S Army to explore Electra’s unique blown wing air­craft tech­nol­o­gy poten­tial to broad­en America’s mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties, espe­cial­ly for fuel-effi­cient, resilient logis­tics in con­test­ed envi­ron­ments.”

Electra’s eSTOL is a new cat­e­go­ry of air­craft, com­bin­ing heli­copter-like oper­a­tional flex­i­bil­i­ty with supe­ri­or fixed wing-like per­for­mance and oper­at­ing costs. 

“The inno­v­a­tive com­bi­na­tion of blown lift and eight dis­trib­uted elec­tric motors sig­nif­i­cant­ly increas­es wing lift,” con­tin­ues the release, “that enables ultra-short take­offs and land­ings from spaces as small as a soc­cer field, and dra­mat­i­cal­ly reduces noise and fuel use com­pared to con­ven­tion­al air­craft and heli­copters.” 

Hybrid-elec­tric pow­er ensures ranges beyond 1,000 miles for nation­al secu­ri­ty appli­ca­tions with­out the need for bat­tery charg­ing sta­tions.

Ben Mar­chion­na

Ben Mar­chion­na, Electra’s Direc­tor of Tech­nol­o­gy and Inno­va­tion, com­ment­ed, “There is a sub­stan­tial ben­e­fit to employ­ing the right-sized air­craft for a giv­en pay­load-range mis­sion. It’s a very effec­tive method to sub­stan­tial­ly reduce fuel use in com­bat the­atre, which real­ly mat­ters for enabling dis­trib­uted oper­a­tions in con­test­ed loca­tions.” 

He con­tin­ued, “Many of the most com­mon­ly deployed mil­i­tary logis­tics solu­tions in use today are flown well below their intend­ed pay­load capac­i­ty. Our eSTOL air­craft can ful­fil such mis­sions while using dra­mat­i­cal­ly less fuel, pro­vid­ing more range, oper­at­ing at sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduced noise lev­els, and util­is­ing the same con­strained oper­a­tional ground foot­prints.”

The pow­ered wind tun­nel test­ing will advance Electra’s “nov­el aero­dy­nam­ics data­base” for use in per­for­mance analy­sis, sim­u­la­tor and con­trol law devel­op­ment. 

These tri­als, com­bined with ground tests and the ongo­ing flight test pro­gram of Electra’s eSTOL tech­nol­o­gy demon­stra­tor air­craft, are to be used to help guide the design and devel­op­ment of Electra’s pro­duc­tion air­craft.

For more infor­ma­tion


(Top image: Elec­tric Aero)

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