NASA and the U.S. Air Force are collaborating to help develop a “strong and resilient AAM [advanced air mobility] supply chain that can scale as the market matures.”
As a first step, the NASA Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI) and the Air Force’s Agility Prime program have issued a request for information (RFI) seeking inputs from “suppliers and manufacturers of all types of parts, sub-systems, and systems” of AAM vehicles — a term that encompasses a variety of novel eVTOL aircraft, including those designed for urban air mobility (UAM).
“The intent is to map and share the current AAM supply chain via an electric platform, model and simulate the network’s ability to scale, and ensure that the industry has the human capital to meet future needs,” the RFI states. “The electronic platform, and modeling and simulation capabilities will also help connect original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with current and aspiring aerospace suppliers.”
RFI respondents are asked to submit basic information about their companies, plus feedback on several topics including challenges in sourcing parts, downstream suppliers, and raw materials; and challenges in finding the human capital required to build the AAM/UAM ecosystem.
Respondents will have the opportunity to join NASA’s AAM Supply Chain Working Group, which is in addition to the agency’s existing AAM Ecosystem Working Groups. NARI is planning a two-hour virtual kickoff of the new working group on Aug. 13, to be followed by regular online gatherings.
The RFI is open to a broad range of interested parties, including OEMs, designers, prototyping shops, aviation parts manufacturers, academic institutions, maintenance, repair, and overhaul providers, and firms that have not traditionally supplied aviation but may be able to contribute to the market. According to NARI and Agility Prime, automotive suppliers or OEMs, heavy machinery suppliers, and manufacturing technology firms may wish to offer information as well.
The RFI can be found in its entirety here.