United States Air Force Gets its Grubby Little Paws on Electric Aircraft

A few weeks ago, Beta Technologies flew its amazing looking EA (that’s Electric Aircraft, I thought I’d get in first with it) from Vermont to Elgin Air Force Base in Florida. Apparently the miliary wanted to test it out for cargo-carrying purposes.

Cargo-carrying purposes. Now there’s a lame duck bit of truth camouflaging that I’ve never heard before now. Unless they mean the high-yield explosive type of cargo that gets dropped on people. Or air-to-air missiles. Or poison gas canisters specifically ordered by Old Joe, that effect only Palestinian children. Yes, perhaps that’s what they mean.

Haven’t We Seen This Before?

Come to think of it, this is not the first time EAs have been involved in a weaponizing discussion. In 2010, Elon Musk broached the subject with Tony Stark in Monte Carlo. Oh wait. That was Iron Man 2.

Anyway, moving swiftly along. The electric aircraft has been dubbed Alia, and when testing (not just military) is completed, Beta will plan for different variants. The model you see here is the type for which you need a runway. Waiting to go onto the drawing board is a vertical take off and landing version not too dissimilar to Boeing’s V-22 Osprey, developed by their military division. Simply, it takes off and lands like a helicopter but flies like a fixed wing aircraft. No clearly-visible-to-spy-satellites runways needed here.

Beta (just like the USAF) are keen to keep the narrative going about cargo, and even have a contract with United Therapeutics for flying stuff around.

Despite the cynicism, the carbon-negative goals Beta are pursuing are laudable. Even their factory in Vermont, which is nearly 20 thousand square metres in floor space, is solar powered with geothermals handling internal climate control.

So let’s admire the launch of a new aircraft that won’t punch holes in the ozone layer. But wait with bated breath to see when it’s going to be used to punch holes in people.

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