US Army Tests eVTOL Technology For Further Applications

The US Army DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center is testing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for critical military, cargo, and medical operations usage. Flight tests are being conducted by DEVCOM and the Air Force Research Laboratory Technology Directorate’s AFWERX Agility Prime project. 

One of the  eVTOL demonstrators being tested is a product of the Vermont-based eVTOL firm, BETA. Named ALIA, the vehicle has an electric engine that allows it to move vertically and engage in a long-range, energy-efficient flight. The craft features a cargo variant that is capable of carrying up to 200 cubic feet of volume and a passenger variant that could fly six (including the pilot). Its maximum take-off weight is nearly 7,000 pounds (3,200 kilograms), and it has a wingspan of 50 feet (15 meters). Alia can reach 250 nautical miles (290 miles/460 kilometers) in a single flight, and fully recharge in 50 minutes. 

The Air Force is also testing Hexa 09, an unmanned aerial vehicle developed by LIFT Aircraft. The Hexa 09 is an all-electric, single-seat craft with eighteen independent electric motors and propellers to provide stable and controlled flight. Hexa vehicles are designed to improve transportation for military personnel, base logistics, and search-and-rescue missions.  Ongoing testing will include: flight envelope expansion; acoustics testing; and developmental testing of a modular cargo adaptation for the airframe. 

Lt Col John Tekell, Air Force Agility Prime Lead at AFWERX stated, “LIFT is a great example of why Agility Prime exists, to further applications of eVTOL technology for both military and civilian use.”