House bill: Time to put Air Force’s ‘flying car’ concept into action

House bill: Time to put Air Force’s ‘flying car’ concept into action

House lawmakers want the Air Force to start seriously thinking about how to make its electric “flying car” concept a reality.

A subcommittee’s section of the House Armed Services Committee’s proposed fiscal 2025 National Defense Authorization Act would require the Air Force and the Pentagon to set up a working group dedicated to transitioning its Agility Prime concept into programs that can be used operationally.

Agility Prime is a program run by AFWERX, the Air Force’s innovation arm, to work with industry to develop and demonstrate electric vertical takeoff-and-landing aircraft, or VTOLs. The Air Force issued contracts to more than a dozen companies beginning in 2020 to create these electric air taxis.

The service has already experimented with electric aircraft created by Joby Aviation and Beta Technologies to transport spare parts or cargo around bases, and conducted a simulated casualty evacuation exercise with Beta’s Alia — this one a conventional takeoff-and-landing aircraft — earlier this year.

The Air Force has also floated the idea of using Agility Prime-derived technology to conduct combat rescue operations, since electric aircraft can operate much more quietly than traditional fuel-powered helicopters.

The HASC’s cyber, information technologies and innovation subcommittee’s portion of the proposed NDAA would give the Air Force six months to set up an Agility Prime transition working group, which would operate until the end of September 2027.

This group would be in charge of identifying programs or other activities throughout the military that could use Agility Prime technologies such as electric VTOLs or autonomous flight capabilities. It would also develop and carry out a strategy to transition Agility Prime capabilities to other program executive offices throughout the military that might need to use electric aircraft.

This working group would be run by the Air Force’s secretary, and also consist of other defense officials including the secretaries of the Army and Navy, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the undersecretaries of defense for acquisition and sustainment and research and engineering, and representatives from U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Transportation Command.

By the end of September 2025, the Air Force secretary would have to submit reports to the House and Senate’s defense committees outlining the military’s progress on developing or procuring hybrid or electric VTOL aircraft, and plans to transition those technologies to a military acquisition or research and development program. Further reports would follow annually for the following two years.

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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