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Archer Signs Letter of Intent with Composites Supplier Hexcel

Archer Aviation and Hexcel signed a letter of intent regarding a proposed relationship that would involve Hexcel supplying high-performance carbon fiber material for production of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft. (Photo courtesy of Archer)

Archer Aviation announced their intention to enter an agreement with Hexcel, provider of solutions in lightweight composites technology. In the agreement, Hexcel would supply Archer with high-performance carbon fiber material for manufacturing production aircraft, a relationship detailed in the letter of intent signed last week. 

Archer’s objective is to establish a network of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in cities across the U.S. To achieve this goal, the team needs to be able to manufacture their aircraft at scale, a spokesperson from Archer told Avionics International in an emailed statement. “An undertaking of this magnitude requires advanced materials that are high in quality, meet our high safety standards, and align with our planned aircraft design. Hexcel’s high-performance carbon fiber and resin systems check all of these boxes for us, making them an ideal composites partner.”

Hexcel manufactures lightweight composite structures for commercial and military fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, UAVs, and more. Hexcel has worked with numerous companies in the aviation sector, including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Sikorsky, SpaceX, and Lockheed Martin. (Photo courtesy of Hexcel)

Archer co-founder and co-CEO, Brett Adcock, stated in the company’s announcement, “When selecting a partner, our primary focus was on safety and quality. We were impressed by Hexcel’s track record in delivering high-performance prepreg [carbon fiber and resin systems] materials for the commercial aerospace industry and their proactive approach to developing cutting-edge materials.” 

Hexcel’s Chairman, CEO, and President, Nick Stanage, remarked that his team is looking forward to contributing to Archer’s efforts in bringing the new technology to market, “This is a terrific opportunity for Hexcel to join with an innovative leader such as Archer to bring eVTOL to market. By selecting our leading lightweight composites, Archer helps improve aerodynamics, safety and quality in their aircraft designs.”

Another advantage of partnering with Hexcel is the company’s experience with the certification standards of the Federal Aviation Administration. Archer continues to work closely with the FAA as it pursues certification. The FAA presented the eVTOL developer with a Special Airworthiness Certificate towards the end of 2021. Shortly after, on December 16, Archer completed the first successful hover flight with its Maker aircraft.

Archer’s Maker eVTOL aircraft, pictured above, completed its first successful hover test in December 2021. (Photo courtesy of Archer)

Following the hover flight test, the team at Archer Aviation is focused on expansion of their flight testing envelope. Archer has previously stated that they expect to unveil the production-ready aircraft at the end of 2022. Archer’s representative told Avionics that the company will soon release news  “about the progress we’re seeing in all facets of our aircraft and operational development plans.” 

The proposed relationship between Archer and Hexcel would involve the use of Hexcel’s prepreg materials for fabricating composite parts of Archer’s aircraft. “We’re still in the early days of this partnership, so we’re not able to share specific details at the moment,” stated the company’s spokesperson. “We’re looking forward to sharing more about Archer’s overarching manufacturing plans in the coming months.”

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