April 24, 2024

U.S. Navy Selects Electra to Design Ship-Based eSTOL Logistics Aircraft

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The U.S. Navy has awarded Electra a contract under the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to explore the use of Electra’s electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft as a next-generation aviation solution for logistics in a contested environment.

In this study, Electra will work with Navy stakeholders to define specific contested logistics use cases and conduct a conceptual design study to evaluate how its hybrid-electric eSTOL aircraft can address unique Navy capability gaps. Contested logistics, a key topic of national security interest, essentially refers to the movement of military personnel or supplies to and from areas which are challenging to reach or support.

“We’re honored to add the U.S. Navy to our portfolio of U.S. Department of Defense customers, including the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army,” said Ben Marchionna, Electra’s Director of Technology and Innovation. “Electra’s eSTOL has all the right technology-enabled capabilities to help the Navy address next-generation aviation logistics challenges. With our differentiated combination of hybrid-electric propulsion and a blown fixed wing, we can offer Pacific theater-relevant payloads and ranges, and the ability to operate from rough soccer field-sized spaces as well as many naval vessels and adjacent assets, all from day one. Beyond boilerplate tactical logistics use cases, we also see this airplane as an enabler for expeditionary power generation, mesh networking, and even as an essential node for Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) employment. These are all gamechangers for force modernization initiatives within the Navy and Marine Corps.”

Photo caption: Ongoing flight testing of Electra’s 2-seat eSTOL technology demonstrator aircraft showcases its capability to operate as a contested logistics platform with ground rolls as short as 150 feet. Electra's production aircraft will carry 9 passengers or 2,500 pounds of cargo up to 500 miles. (Credit:Electra)