Joby extends Agility Prime contract for eVTOL aircraft delivery

Joby’s contract with the U.S. Air Force is now valued at up to $131 million following a $55 million extension that includes provision of up to nine Joby aircraft, two of which will be delivered to Edwards Air Force Base.


Two U.S. Air Force pilots inspect Joby’s eVTOL aircraft in advance of remotely piloted flights. Photo Credit, all images: Joby Aviation

Joby Aviation Inc. (Santa Cruz, Calif., U.S.) has announced the third extension of its Agility Prime contract with the U.S. Air Force (USAF). The $55 million contract extension brings the total potential value of Joby’s current contract with the Air Force up to $131 million and underlines the U.S. government’s continued commitment to leadership in this new sector.

As part of the agreement, Joby will deliver and operate up to nine of its five-seat, low-noise, zero operating emissions electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, providing USAF and other federal agencies with firsthand experience of the performance of Joby’s aircraft and its potential applications.

The first two aircraft are expected to be delivered to Edwards Air Force Base, California, by early 2024, and will be used to demonstrate a range of potential logistics use cases, including cargo and passenger transportation. In doing so, they are expected to become the first electric air taxis to be stationed at a U.S. military base. 

This announcement comes days after four Air Force pilots, hosted by Joby at its manufacturing facility in Marina, California, reportedly became the first USAF personnel to fly an eVTOL as sole pilot-in-command through the full flight envelope, including transition from vertical to wingborne flight. The flights, which were piloted remotely from the ground, came following completion of classroom-based and simulator training and are part of the Air Force’s comprehensive approach to studying eVTOL aircraft and their potential future role.

Read CW’s most recent plant tour at the Joby Aviation facility in Marina, California.

“The Agility Prime program is a successful example of how public-private partnerships can deliver trailblazing technology at speed,” JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, notes. “We’re grateful for the support of the program and for the U.S. government’s wider commitment to global leadership in this important new sector. As well as allowing us to explore the wide range of potential use cases across the U.S. government, our defense partners have also provided us with high-impact support as we prepare for commercial operations in 2025.”

“This next step of getting Air Force pilots trained and operating Joby aircraft at an Air Force installation is an important milestone for the program, providing key insights to actual operations and use case validation for advanced air mobility [AAM] aircraft,” Lt. Col. Tom Meagher, AFWERX prime lead, says. “Additionally, the Joby operations provide an outstanding opportunity for accelerated learning with the other Department of Defense services and government agencies, including NASA and the FAA.”

Edwards Air Force Base is the second largest base in the Air Force and has been the site of hundreds of significant aviation “firsts.” For example, it’s where Capt. Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1 first broke the sound barrier on Oct. 14, 1947, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to fly Mach 4, 5 and 6 and the space shuttle first landed on its initial return from Earth’s orbit.

U.S. Air Force pilots trains to fly the Joby aircraft.

U.S. Air Force pilots trains to fly the Joby aircraft.

This development is also a further demonstration of the U.S. government’s commitment to leading the way on the adoption of AAM. In February, dozens of bipartisan Members of Congress joined together to issue a letter to the Department of Transportation, calling for stronger U.S. leadership in AAM, while in March, the White House signaled its support for AAM and clean aviation, identifying them as top priorities in its National Aeronautics Science & Technology Priorities brief.

Joby’s partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD) began more than five years ago and provides the company with access to testing facilities, early operational experience for government customers, as well as a partial offset to its research and development (R&D) costs. Since the Agility Prime program was established in 2020, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have all expressed active interest in the capabilities of eVTOL aircraft, with Joby announcing in August 2022 that the Marine Corps would participate in government-directed flight tests and use case exploration, including resupply, personnel transport and emergency medical response applications.

For more information, read CW’s most recent plant tour at the Joby Aviation facility in Marina, California. Learn more about general developments here.