U.K.-based Vertical Aerospace is venturing outside aerial ridesharing applications for its VX4 eVTOL aircraft. The eVTOL company is partnering with aerospace, defense and security company Babcock International to look at using its aircraft for aerial emergency medical services (EMS) and cargo transportation.
As the largest single operator delivering helicopter emergency services (HEMS) in the U.K., Babcock has more than 35 years of experience in EMS, performing thousands of missions around the world every year.
By leveraging Babcock’s experience, the companies plan to form a joint working group to explore how the VX4 could be used in vital services such as attending accidents and providing emergency transport between hospitals, as well as supporting the armed forces with medium range logistics delivery and casualty evacuation services.
The partnership will also see the two companies work to develop modular maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) capabilities for the aircraft in both remote and challenging environments.
Phil Craig, managing director of U.K. aviation at Babcock, said exploring Vertical’s eVTOL aircraft allows Babcock to understand how it can be used to deliver critical care and logistical support in different environments.
“Partnering with Vertical Aerospace not only enables us to harness our extensive digital and data expertise across Babcock, but also our reputation as a trusted MRO provider with a highly skilled workforce,” Craig said. “As a business, we’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint, and this partnership is an exciting step into the world of electric aircraft.”
Vertical is developing a piloted four-passenger eVTOL aircraft that’s targeting a range of more than 100 miles (160 kilometers), and top speeds of more than 200 miles per hour (320 kilometer per hour).
The company has attracted several potential customers in the passenger transportation market, including aircraft lessors such as Avolon, airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, and helicopter and tourism operators such as Bristow and Iberojet.
The U.K. startup recently partnered with FlyingGroup, which has conditionally pre-ordered up to 50 of Vertical’s aircraft, bringing its total pre-order book to 1,400 — valued at around $5.6 billion. The company plans to launch commercial operations in 2025 after receiving type certification and validation from U.K. and European aviation authorities.