The ALIA composite manned electric aircraft from BETA Technologies has been approved by the U.S. Air Force to fly in its Agility Prime program. AFWERX Agility Prime is a non-traditional program bringing together industry, investors, and government to establish safety and security standards while accelerating commercialization of advanced air mobility vehicles.
“Electric aviation is a National Security priority and fortunately this was recognized early by the Air Force,” said Kyle Clark, BETA’s founder and CEO. “The speed and efficiency of the Air Force Agility Prime program to support sustainable electric aviation has been remarkable. The people and expertise that the Air Force has brought to the electric aviation industry and specifically our ALIA program is accelerating the development of incredibly capable, safe and reliable aircraft.”
The ALIA design includes fixed efficient vertical propellers reducing the cost of manufacturing as well as reducing maintenance needs and increasing safety. The long wing and the V-tail reduce drag and increase the stability of the aircraft at low speeds.
The Air Force will have access to the first of its kind manned electric aircraft and BETA’s immersive electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) simulators located in Washington, D.C. and Springfield, Ohio, allowing pilots and engineers to test the ALIA aircraft in multiple scenarios including missions in inclement weather, requiring emergency handling, and with multiple aircraft.
“Agility Prime is about creating a new path to adopt advanced technologies in the Department of Defense by working with innovative companies like BETA in ways that enable new markets,” Col. Nathan Diller, AFWERX director, said. “The engineering, test, and acquisition professionals in Air Force Materiel Command have phenomenal expertise to help accelerate this and other emerging markets.”
The Air Force plans to use eVTOL aircraft for search and rescue, disaster relief, humanitarian operations, logistics, and other defense support.