Agility Prime to hold virtual launch event

Amid the challenges of COVID-19, the Air Force remains committed to supporting the innovation ecosystem. During the week of 27 April, Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, will officially launch Agility Prime, the Air Force program to accelerate the growth of the transformative vertical flight market for subsequent government use.

According to Roper, “now is the perfect time to make Jetsons cars real.” He will kick off the event, a weeklong immersive virtual experience. A full schedule of events can be found at https://agilityprime.com/index.html.

The objective of the event is to reinforce the Air Force commitment to partnering with industry, investors and the interagency to help ensure there is a robust domestic capability in this new aerospace sector. Besides the keynote, there will be live virtual panels for manufacturers to showcase their capabilities alongside investors and academia. The government will also provide briefings and live moderated question and answer sessions to describe the contracting, testing, airworthiness and import/export processes.

In his comments to the House Armed Services Committee on March 11, Roper said, “We recently launched Agility Prime, a nontraditional program run in partnership between our (Program Executive Office) for Mobility and (Air Force Research Laboratory), seeking to operationalize commercial electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles (i.e., “flying cars”) for military missions, and accelerate the emerging commercial eVTOL market in the United States.”

He went on to say the program’s Innovative Capabilities Opening “establishes the rapid contracting mechanism to explore and potentially field transformative vertical flight aircraft within three years, and the program will host a challenge series this year to select vehicles, certify safety and airworthiness, procure systems for the most promising missions, and reach operational capability by FY23.”

Capitalizing on knowledge gained from the hybrid and electric auto industry, powerful distributed electric propulsion systems are being woven together with advanced algorithms and modern airframes creating an entirely new class of aircraft. These aircraft create the potential for safe, affordable, sustainable, quiet and runway-independent air mobility. “The intent of the initiative is to help develop the industrial base through market stimulation in an effort to accelerate commercial and military fielding which creates additional capability for our operators while saving the taxpayer money,” said Col. Nathan Diller, Agility Prime IPT lead.

Agility Prime, in an endeavor to create alternative defense acquisition constructs, will rely on strong collaboration between Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Mobility PEO, AFRL, Air Force Warfighting Integrating Capability and Air Force Ventures. Technology Development and evaluation experts at AFRL will partner from the onset with AFLCMC PEO Mobility and AFWIC to efficiently transition platforms and field capability to the warfighter. Air Force Ventures will be the critical link for engagement with industry, investors, and interagency organizations.

The event will be open to all who register at https://agilityprime.com/index.html.

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