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Archer Aviation, an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft company, has significantly expanded its partnership with the US Department of Defense (DoD) by signing new contracts with the US Air Force with a total value of up to $142 million.

This new execution phase of the partnership includes the delivery of up to six of Archer’s Midnight aircraft to the Air Force, the sharing of additional flight test data and certification related test reports, pilot training, and the development of maintenance and repair operations.

Archer has been partnering with the DoD since 2021 on a series of projects through the US Air Force’s AFWERX program with the goal of helping the AFWERX Agility Prime program assess the transformational potential of the vertical flight market and eVTOL technologies for DoD purposes.

Now, with Archer recently completing the manufacturing of its first Midnight aircraft, the DoD recognizes that with its vertical takeoff and landing capabilities, target payload of approximately 1,000lbs, proprietary electric powertrain system, and low noise profile, Archer’s aircraft represents a potential paradigm shift in military aviation and operations.

These aircraft hold the promise of enhancing rapid response, agility, and operational effectiveness across a wide range of mission profiles, from personnel transport and logistics support to rescue operations and more. Archer says that its Midnight aircraft can provide a much safer and quieter alternative to helicopters while being more cost-effective for the US military to transport, operate and maintain in the field.

It is our mission to ensure the US continues to lead the world in developing and deploying emerging aerospace technology. eVTOL aircraft represent the cusp of the third revolution in aerospace, and these aircraft and their descendants will drive advances in capabilities and efficiency. Our contracts with Archer Aviation provide the US Department of Defense and US Air Force the opportunity to play a role in ensuring from the onset, and as the technology evolves, that we unlock the many benefits these aircraft have to offer the US military.

—Colonel Tom Meagher, the lead for AFWERX Agility Prime programs

This announcement comes on the heels of Archer announcing the formation of the company’s Government Services Advisory Board in May. The goal of the advisory board is to allow Archer to more fully engage with US government and public safety agencies to explore opportunities to commercialize its eVTOL aircraft.

The members of this advisory board are assisting and facilitating Archer’s direct engagement with appropriate government agencies and officials to advance both consideration and implementation of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft and related technologies. The board includes Retired 4-star General Steve Townsend (USA), Retired 3-star Lieutenant General David A. Krumm (USAF), Retired 3-star Vice Admiral Ron Boxall (USN), Retired 2-star General Clayton M. Hutmacher (USA), Retired 2-star General Bill Gayler (USA), and Retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael J. Durant (USA).

General Hutmacher was an Army Special Operations Aviator and commanded at every level during his three tours with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) (Night Stalkers)—the primary rotary-wing support to the DoD Special Operations Forces.

During his Army career, CW4 Durant served with the 160th SOAR. He is a master aviator, qualified in the UH-1 Huey, MH-6 Loach, and MH-60A, L, and K models of the Blackhawk. He has a total of 3,700 flight hours with more than 1,400 under Night Vision Goggles. While piloting an MH60 Blackhawk in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993, he was shot down and captured, becoming part of the Blackhawk Down story by Mark Bowden.


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