Archer, a leading electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturer, announced today that it has expanded its partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) by signing contracts with the U.S. Air Force, valued at up to $142 million. The new contracts highlight the military's interest in exploring the potential applications of Archer's innovative eVTOL technology.
The deal will involve the delivery of up to six of Archer's Midnight aircraft to the Air Force, in addition to sharing flight test data, pilot training, and developing maintenance and repair operations. This new phase of the partnership aims to further assess the transformative impact of vertical flight technology for the U.S. military.
Archer has been collaborating with the DoD through the U.S. Air Force's AFWERX program since 2021, with a focus on the AFWERX Agility Prime program. The goal has been to evaluate the potential of the vertical flight market and eVTOL technologies for defense applications.
With the completion of its first Midnight aircraft, Archer believes its technology could represent a significant shift in military aviation. The aircraft's features, including vertical takeoff and landing capabilities, a target payload of approximately 1,000 lbs, a proprietary electric powertrain system, and a low noise profile, make it an appealing alternative to traditional helicopters. The Midnight aircraft are touted as safer, quieter, and more cost-effective for the U.S. military for various missions ranging from transport to rescue operations.
Adam Goldstein, Archer's Founder and CEO, expressed his enthusiasm for the agreement, emphasizing the importance of eVTOL technology as a national priority and Archer's commitment to working with the U.S. military.
Colonel Tom Meagher, the lead for AFWERX Agility Prime programs, described the contract as an opportunity for the U.S. to lead in aerospace technology, seeing eVTOL aircraft as "the cusp of the third revolution in aerospace."
Retired 4-Star General Steve Townsend, a member of Archer's Government Services Advisory Board, praised the partnership, recognizing it as a testament to U.S. technological innovation.
This announcement follows the recent formation of Archer's Government Services Advisory Board in May. The board, comprising retired military leaders, aims to engage with U.S. government and public safety agencies to explore opportunities to commercialize Archer's eVTOL aircraft.
The new contracts with the Air Force signify a noteworthy milestone in the integration of eVTOL technology within the defense sector. While Archer and other proponents are optimistic about the potential benefits, the full impact and practical applications of these aircraft within military operations remain to be seen.