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Agility Prime: Reimagining acquisition and revolutionizing transportation with eVTOL

Amid the challenges of COVID-19, participating in the launch of the Agility Prime was a great medicine to think about a positive future. Agility Prime is the U.S. Air Force's effort, along with numerous other federal agencies, to support commercial investment into eVTOLs, championed by companies such as Uber primarily for use as air taxis in urban settings.

Source: Artists captured the ideas discussed during the event in sketches

The U.S. Air Force hosted a digital launch of Agility Prime, its 'flying car' development and acquisition effort in April. The service acquisition Chief Will Roper kicked off the event. Dr. Will Roper presented the rapid contracting mechanism to explore and potentially field transformative vertical flight aircraft. He hopes the Air Force's early involvement, internal certification resources, and operational flight hours will speed up domestic certification of eVTOL aircraft that, through Agility Prime, prove they are capable of fulfilling missions worthwhile to the service. Col. Nathan P. Diller probed about the opportunity to think differently about the acquisition process and the way to bring online a portfolio of new capabilities.

The Air Force has introduced processes to make more money available to companies that are not traditional defense contractors. In the initial phase, there's AFWERX, which the Air Force created in 2017 as a seed investor. AFWERX is making investments of roughly $50,000 in small companies as part of the Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, program. Companies that make it to phase II of the SBIR program could get $1 million. Finally, the Air Force is looking to match the investment of private venture capitalists to improve opportunities.

Source: Artists captured the ideas discussed during the event in sketches

The process is a significant departure from the way defense contracting typically takes place, with a defined defense contractor capturing a big multi-year contract and then working it until the end. A point that strongly resonates with me during the launch event and that the guests emphasized was innovation been the crucial factor that makes our nation great. Agility Prime is a terrific initiative to see things differently and leverage an ecosystem of innovators. Secretary of the Air force, Barbara Barrett, refers to the enterprise as a vision of world impact. The idea is to build an industrial base and technology supply chain in the country and accelerate commercial markets faster than our competitors. The initiative can potentially change the way we move people and supply in a not so distant future. It can have tremendous impact in digital supply networks and last mile logistics.

Exciting stuff!!!

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