The Moog SureFly has been long in development, although not much news has been released about it in recent years. In December of 2019, Workhorse officially announced the sale of the SureFly project to Moog, which had been in development with Workhorse for several years. The prototype itself is impressive, having already undergone many flight tests, with a continuous flight time range of 60 minutes, and a folding rotor design that allows the Surefly to fit into storage spaces as small as a standard pickup truck.

As part of its work with the U.S Air Force, Moog will be installing a hybrid-electric propulsion system in the SureFly S250 rather than the pure-electric system it currently has, in order to increase range, as part of their efforts to explore the potential of hybrid-electric eVTOL systems. Darshan Divakaran, program manager of Agility Prime, said “As full battery electric propulsion systems still have limitations, with the SureFly aircraft, the Air Force will get a more in-depth understanding of hybrid-electric power system technology and Moog’s aircraft control system.”

Testing with the USAF will focus on vehicle aerodynamics, pilot interfaces, system safety, and airworthiness support for unmanned operations. According to Paul Stoelting, director of innovation at Moog, the SureFly could be ideal for missions ranging from battlefield resupply and casualty evacuation to humanitarian disaster response and distributed logistics.

Once the Moog Surefly receives a Military Airworthiness certification, it be able to continue its testing at a local UAS test site.

Side view of the Moog SureFly.

Why it’s important: With this latest move, Moog has entered the SureFly back onto the aerial mobility playing field. In addition, it has strategically made the decision to update the SureFly’s original design with a hybrid-electric engine rather than a purely electric one. This will allow the U.S Air Force to investigate the potential and technical attributes of hybrid-electric eVTOL aircraft in additional to pure-electric designs.