Joby Aviation announced this week that its Agility Prime contract with the U.S. Air Force has been extended for a third time. The total contract is now valued up to $131 million, having increased by $55 million. Joby agreed to deliver and operate as many as nine of its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to the USAF and other federal agencies beginning early next year.
Joby’s eVTOLs will serve to demonstrate cargo and passenger transportation capabilities as well as other potential logistics use cases. The company could be the first to have its eVTOLs stationed at a military base in the U.S.
Joby’s plan is to launch commercial eVTOL operations in 2025 following certification.
“Getting Air Force pilots trained and operating Joby aircraft at an Air Force installation is an incredibly important milestone for the program, providing key insights to actual operations and use case validation for advanced air mobility aircraft,” remarked Lt. Col. Tom Meagher, AFWERX Prime Lead. He added that the contract provides “an outstanding opportunity for accelerated learning with the other Department of Defense services and government agencies, including NASA and the FAA.”
This week, Joby also announced the signing of a long-term agreement with Toyota Motor Corporation Inc. Toyota will provide key powertrain and actuation components necessary for producing Joby’s eVTOL. Toyota has invested close to $400 million into the eVTOL developer already, making it the largest external shareholder.
“Our mutual goal is mass production of eVTOL and helping Joby apply the best practices of the Toyota Production System in meeting high quality, reliability, safety, and strict cost standards,” stated Keiji Yamamoto, Toyota Motor Corporation Connected Company President.
In February, Joby completed the second stage in the type certification process. The FAA requires companies to progress through five stages before receiving type certification for commercial passenger use of their aircraft. Joby claims that it is the first eVTOL developer to complete the second stage of the process.
Joby is also in a long-term partnership with Delta Air Lines. The teams will coordinate to offer eVTOL flights to Delta’s customers once Joby has launched commercial operations. The airline also made an upfront equity investment in Joby totaling $60 million. There is a possibility of expanding that investment to $200 million, according to the announcement from October 2022.