Navy to Explore Use of eSTOL Aircraft, Issues Contract to Electra

The service is investigating the aircraft’s potential utility in environments with operational challenges or minimal infrastructure.

Ongoing flight testing of Electra’s two-seat eSTOL technology demonstrator aircraft showcases its capability to operate as a contested logistics platform with ground rolls as short as 150 feet, according to the company. Electra’s production aircraft will carry nine passengers or 2,500 pounds of cargo up to 500 miles. [Courtesy: Electra]

The U.S. Navy has issued a contract to Electra to investigate the use of its electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft for logistics in contested environments, the company announced.

According to Electra, the aircraft is able to operate with ground rolls of 150 feet, capable of carrying up to nine passengers or 2,500 pounds of cargo, and sports a range of 500 nm.

The company did not announce the contract amount that was awarded under the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) but said it is expected to continue through the end of the year.

"The contract allows Electra to partner with the U.S. Navy and its stakeholders to explore the use cases for Electra’s eSTOL technology, as well as potential aircraft configuration extensions, to enhance the efficiency of delivering military logistics services in environments with minimal infrastructure or other operational challenges," Electra spokesperson Barbara Zadina told FLYING.

The contract announcement comes days after the company reported the U.S. Army had issued a $1.9 million contract to experiment with the hybrid-electric aircraft to perform powered wind tunnel testing.

"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,"  Ben Marchionna, Electra's director of technology and innovation, said in a statement. 

In addition to logistic utility, the company said the eSTOL aircraft could also enable expeditionary power generation, mesh networking, and potentially serve as an essential node for Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) employment.

"These are all game changers for force modernization initiatives within the Navy and Marine Corps," Marchionna said.

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter