Elroy Air, U.S. Air Force expand partnership, advance VTOL aircraft platform

Phase 3 SBIR award will fund the unmanned cargo aircraft’s technical demonstrations, performance validations and result in potential acquisition into the U.S. Air Force.


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Elroy Air Chaparral VTOL aircraft

Photo Credit: Elroy Air

Elroy Air, (San Francisco, Calif., U.S.) an aerospace and logistics company developing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aerial cargo systems, announced on Dec. 18 that it has won a Phase 3 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract with Agility Prime (Washington D.C., U.S.), a non-traditional program in the U.S. Air Force seeking to accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicles. The goals of this new contract are to fund technical demonstrations and performance validations including flights of Elroy Air’s next-generation unmanned cargo aircraft, Chaparral, to transition the Chaparral program to acquisitions by the Air Force.

“We are enthusiastic to expand our existing partnership with the U.S. Air Force,” says David Merrill, CEO of Elroy Air. “The Agility Prime program has a mandate to field a substantial fleet of electric and hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft systems in the next three years, to address operational situations that are challenging with today’s aircraft. Elroy Air’s Chaparral will enable a new concept of operations (CONOPS) for flying cargo and observation equipment in difficult-to-access areas. These systems will make ultra-responsive logistics possible, transforming the capabilities of the supply chain for the Air Force’s defense and humanitarian aid missions.”

Elroy Air is one of many recent companies developing unmanned VTOL systems for aerial mobility. According to the company, unique to the Chaparral platform is its deployment of specialized systems for cargo, including a hybrid-electric powertrain enabling long-range deliveries, and automated cargo-handling for rapid and unattended loading and unloading. These developments, says Elroy Air, are a response to a global pilot shortage and growing demand for more flexible and rapid logistics capabilities for the company’s government and commercial customers.

“We are thrilled to be working with Elroy Air to help validate the Chaparral platform value and capability to the U.S. Air Force,” says Major John “Wasp” Tekell, deputy of Agility Prime and point of contact for Elroy Air’s new contract. “The Air Force supports a wide range of military and humanitarian missions, and our objectives can often be difficult or dangerous to accomplish with manned aircraft. Elroy Air typifies the kind of innovative company Agility Prime is partnering with, and they are already well down the path in developing a system that we believe can meet both commercial and government needs.”

With the Phase 3 contract, Elroy Air says it will be focused on operational test and evaluation (OT&E) of its platform and subsystems. Further, the award is also intended to knock down any remaining barriers to adoption and acquisition of Chaparral for use by the U.S. Air Force, and opens a channel for additional U.S. government business.

Read the original article at suasnews.


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