Lockheed Martin invests in electric aircraft maker Electra in its series A funding round. Electra is working on electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft concept. This aircraft is being designed to take off and land in places as small as 300 x 100 feet by using a patent-pending “distributed electric propulsion and blown lift technology”.
The news came on Tuesday last week when Lockheed Martin also signed an agreement with the company for a strategic corporation agreement. Both Lockheed Martin and Electra will be working on possible solutions for the US government. Founded in 2020 Electra is based in Northern Virginia. Since then they have been working on developing a full-scale hybrid-electric ultra-short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft that can transport up to 1,800-pounds of cargo or seven to nine passengers up to 500 miles. However, the demo model will not be able to carry as many members initially. The demo model will be a two-seater plane for testing purposes.
Last year, Electra received a contract from the Air Force’s Agility Prime initiative, which is investing in, and leveraging, companies in the commercial electric vertical takeoff and landing for its potential future aviation needs. founder and CEO of Electra, John Langford said in a statement, “Hybrid-electric propulsion will influence every aspect of aviation,”
Investment in Electra
Lockheed is essentially investing in seeding technology, one among the first ones to invest in the aircraft maker. They are “clearly thinking about the future of air mobility” in an era of “contested logistics”. It is expected to add to its air mobility and aviation portfolio investing in key technologies.
Vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures, Chris Moran said, “Electra’s technical approach to sustainable aviation is differentiated, and we are excited to see this concept mature. We invested in Electra because of its focus on hybrid-electric technology. Hybrid-electric aircraft have the potential to deliver operational and environmental advantages over other aircraft, including increased payload and range without gambling on battery improvements. We look forward to working with the Electra team and hope to partner on opportunities in the future.”
Electra is integrating two fundamental technologies for its eSTOL aircraft, a hybrid-electric propulsion system, and a blown lift wing. The company’s website shows eight motors, four on each side of the fuselage attached to the leading edge of the wing, to create distributed electric propulsion that is more cost-effective flexible for a blown lift wing than jet engines used in government-developed technology demonstrator decades ago.
Credits- Aviation Today