The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

U.S. Air Force Backs Jaunt-led Study on Thermoplastics and Manufacturing

Jaunt Air Mobility is working on a project for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to develop thermoplastic materials and low-cost production techniques for manufacturing eVTOL aircraft. The work is supported by a Small Business Technology Transfer (SSTR) contract awarded to the U.S. company by the Air Force Research Laboratory, and also involves Triumph Aerospace Structures and the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).

The SSTR contract is part of the USAF’s AFWERX initiative to advance the entry into service of eVTOL aircraft for military applications, including logistics and surveillance. Jaunt is developing a family of aircraft, among them the Jaunt passenger transport and the Joust military vehicle. The aircraft will use thermoplastics as their primary airframe structure.

Triumph is one of Jaunt’s key program partners. The company is a highly experienced tier-one aerospace supplier that has supported leading aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing, Gulfstream, Bombardier, and Embraer.

Using its patented induction welding techniques, Triumph is developing manufacturing processes to support high rates of eVTOL aircraft production. Under the new research contract, it will model this process to identify the key cost factors.

Georgia Tech will help Triumph to create an internal structural layout for a thermoplastic composite wing and assess the material property values required to meet design safety requirements. The university’s aerospace engineering department has more than a decade of experience in structural optimization for fixed-wing aircraft.

“We plan to produce 2,500 vehicles per year at each of our manufacturing centers,” said Jaunt CEO Martin Peryea. “High-rate production solutions are needed to meet this unprecedented aircraft market demand. Future eVTOL aircraft will require low-cost thermoplastics as traditional thermoset composites cannot meet production rates and cost targets.”

The Jaunt aircraft, which is due to enter production in 2026, is based on a compound helicopter architecture with a main rotor and a fixed-wing with propellers. Initially, they will feature a hybrid-electric propulsion system provided by VerdeGo Aero, but the company intends to introduce an all-electric version as battery technology improves. With an all-electric powertrain, the range will be around 80 miles, rising to 100 miles for the hybrid version.