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Joby Aviation delivers electric air taxi to the US Air Force ahead of schedule, part of $131M contract

eVTOL developer Joby Aviation is starting to make good on a massive contract signed with the US Department of Defense this year. The company is not only celebrating its delivery of Joby aircraft to the US Air Force, but it is also claiming to be the first company to deliver an all-electric air taxi to a customer in the entire country… and it did so ahead of schedule.

Joby Aviation ($JOBY) is an increasingly better-known eVTOL developer that is quickly moving ever closer to becoming a fully certified scaled aircraft manufacturer in the US, especially with the help of the US military. The company recently shared it will call the state of Ohio its US home for manufacturing, in the same town as aviation trailblazer Orville Wright.

Previously, we’ve watched the startup garner significant funding from companies like Intel, JetBlue, and Toyota – the latter of which has evolved into a major partner in helping Joby reach scaled eVTOL commercial operations.

However, the company truly turned some heads this past April when it secured a $131 million contract with the US Department of Defense (DOD), including at least nine aircraft – two of which were air taxis for the Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Originally, the first air taxi was expected to reach the Air Force base in early 2024, but Joby recently confirmed it has already been delivered.

Joby eVTOL
Joby’s eVTOL production prototype / Credit: Joby Aviation

Joby delivers to Air Force first of (potentially) many air taxis

According to news from Joby Aviation, the first of at least two all-electric air taxis has been delivered to the Edwards Air Force base and will soon be operated by US military pilots as a demonstrator eVTOL for logistics missions on base.

Pilots from Joby Aviation will also partake in the demonstration flights in California, which will include rides such as cargo and passenger transportation. Joby shared that NASA will also use the air taxi for research pertaining to national airspace as part of a partnership with the US Air Force, potentially benefiting the entire nascent mobility industry. Per Joby founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt:

We’re proud to join the ranks of revolutionary aircraft that first demonstrated their capabilities at Edwards Air Force Base, including the first American jet fighter, the first supersonic aircraft, and many others that have pushed the boundaries of aviation technology. The longstanding support of the DoD and NASA has been critical to the rapid development of electric aviation and eVTOL aircraft, and demonstrates how successful public-private partnerships can bring new technology to life at speed. Their work will have profound implications for continued American leadership in both commercial and defense aerospace technology.

According to Joby, its electric air taxi has already begun flights at the Edwards Air Force base, making it the first to ever be stationed on a base in the US. The recent delivery is part of a $131 million AFWERX Agility Prime contract Joby currently has with the US Air Force. That being said, the aviation company’s current contract potential with the DoD tallies $163 million in value.

Joby shared that over the past year, the US Air Force and Marines have taken multiple visits to the air taxi company’s flight test facilities in Marina, California, and four pilots have already completed full remotely piloted transition flights of the aircraft this past April. Two groups of Marines also visited in May to conduct mission analysis regarding the potential logistics and medical applications of the eVTOLs.

Joby is currently manufacturing its eVTOL aircraft out of the aforementioned facility in Marina as it works to erect its new facility in Ohio. You can check out a video of today’s delivery to the US Air Force below:

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