The Englin Air Force Base in Florida announced it will receive two charging stations and an electric aircraft from Beta Technologies that features an electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) design prototype.
This deal is due in part to Beta’s three-year partnership with AFWERX Agility Prime, the innovation arm of the Air Force, which is dedicated to vertical lift technologies. The Air Force expects to be experimenting with the charging systems and aircraft by Fall 2023.
“Charging station installation is a critical step to unleash test and experimentation with the [Department of Defense] to leverage emerging electric aviation technology as a capability for the warfighter,” said Major Anthony Zartman, Agility Prime Program Manager Team Lead. “Two charging test sites will be set up by the end of the calendar year, marking the first multimodal charging capabilities for the Air Force. Further, the charging stations will provide an opportunity to explore the utility of electric vehicle fleet modernization, as well as base and flight line support equipment to improve energy use and reduce emissions.”
The Level 3 DC fast charger was designed and developed in-house by Beta, and it is capable of charging an electric aircraft in under an hour. The charger’s design can support Beta’s own models, as well as other company designs and even ground based EVs. The system was designed according to the standards established by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s “Interoperability of Electric Charging Infrastructure” whitepaper.
“We are honored that the first-ever fixed electric aircraft charger on a Department of Defense installation is a BETA charger,” said Kyle Clark, CEO and Founder of Beta. “The DOD, and specifically AFWERX’s Agility Prime team, have been invaluable partners to us for the past several years, offering deep insights that have helped us continue to progress our technology. The installation of this charger is an enabling step as the DOD looks to transition to a more sustainable fleet.”