Military Embedded Systems

Air Force takes delivery of ALIA electric aircraft


October 30, 2023

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. U.S. Air Force personnel recently assembled at Eglin Air Force Base to take delivery of the ALIA electric aircraft from electric/aerospace company BETA Technologies, which partnered with the Air Force's AFWERX directorate to develop one of several zero-emission aircraft for the U.S. military. 

According to the account from the Air Force, the advantages of operating an electric aircraft for the military will include a quiet noise profile, lower cost of operation and maintenance, and the freedom to move away partially from use of traditional fossil fuels.

Col. Elliott Leigh, AFWERX director and chief commercialization officer for the Department of the Air Force, said of the aircraft delivery: "We are really excited about companies like BETA when they invent things like this. It is going to transform the way we see air travel in the world, but it is also going to transform the way we have air power in the Air Force. We’re going to learn what we can do with vehicles like this and we’re going to take it to our warfighters.”

BETA’s ALIA electric aircraft has a wingspan of 50 feet, a range of as much as 250 miles, a top speed of 138 mph and a noise profile up to 90% quieter than a helicopter. The Air Force announcement states that although the ALIA aircraft can actually transport five passengers, the Air Force's testing objective is to to demonstrate its potential to support agile combat employment logistics because it has a payload capacity of 1,000 pounds.

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