Archer Aviation and composites specialist Hexcel have signed a letter of intent covering the supply of carbon fiber material for use in the manufacture of Archer’s production aircraft. California-based Archer later this year plans to unveil its full-size “production-intent” eVTOL aircraft, which remains still in its preliminary design stage.
Hexcel supplies carbon fiber, honeycomb, and other composite materials for major aerospace and commercial aviation programs, as well as space, defense, and industrial programs. Under the proposed relationship terms announced on April 7, the company would provide Archer with carbon fiber and resin systems, also known as prepreg, needed to fabricate composite parts.
In a statement, Archer called Hexcel an ideal composites partner for its products’ lightweight, strength, and durability, as well as their “repeatable” manufacturing and performance. “When selecting a partner, our primary focus was on safety and quality,” said Archer co-founder and co-CEO Brett Adcock. “We were impressed by Hexcel's track record in delivering high-performance prepreg materials for the commercial aerospace industry and their proactive approach to developing cutting-edge materials.”
Archer’s other co-founder and co-CEO, Adam Goldstein, emphasized the benefits his company will derive from Hexcel’s understanding of U.S. regulatory processes. “Hexcel’s deep aerospace experience and familiarity with FAA certification requirements will prove invaluable as Archer moves into its next phase of innovation and ushers in the future of sustainable transportation,” he explained.
Archer Aviation’s two-seat Maker eVTOL technology demonstrator achieved its first hover flight in December, marking the start of a flight-test campaign expected to lead to the launch of commercial services with a four-passenger production model in late 2024. Earlier that same month FAA officials issued Archer with a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category for the Maker after several weeks of ground testing, which included verification of the control and propulsion systems, along with driving the electric motors at full power and stress testing these and other systems.