Midnight is one of the best examples. This US-made eVTOL was selected by both a major airline (United) and the US Air Force (USAF). In just a few years, we'll see it operating as a passenger air taxi with United and a transport or cargo aircraft with various military branches.
Shortly after announcing a new contract with the DoD worth $142 million, the Californian company received a top-level visit from the US Marine Corps (USMC). A group of leaders got to take a closer look at the Midnight eVTOL after Archer secured an order for up to six aircraft from the DoD.
A 12-propeller configuration, a proprietary electric powertrain, a 1,000-lb (453 kg) payload, and a fresh take on cabin design based on sustainable materials are some of the features contributing to Midnight's high potential. It claims to be safer, quieter, and more cost-effective than existing helicopters – all of these are great advantages for military operations.
Archer is set on expanding its collaboration with various Army branches in the US. It made sure to set up a Government Services Advisory Board with prominent members such as Retired 2-Star General Clay Hutmacher.
The first official Midnight aircraft was already rolled out. Archer boasts the unique benefit of having Stellantis as its exclusive contract manufacturer. A new factory in Covington, Georgia, is ready to roll out 650 units per year. Following an upcoming expansion that will more than double its surface, the new facility will increase its capacity to more than 2,000 eVTOLs per year.
Archer is not the only Californian eVTOL manufacturer that has convinced the DoD. Earlier this year, Joby announced that its eVTOLs would officially become the first electric air taxis to be stationed at a US military base. The Edwards Air Force base, USAF's second-largest, will host two electric air taxis starting early next year.
The first two Joby units will be used to demonstrate logistics-related potential use cases. Seven more aircraft will be delivered at a later date. Both Joby's and Archer's eVTOLs are gearing up to make history within the US Army and pave the way for new generations of all-electric aircraft.