Swedish rotorcraft distributor Savback Helicopters has signed a letter of intent (LOI) to buy 25 of Mayman Aerospace’s remotely piloted Speeder VTOL aircraft. The turbine-powered model, which Mayman refers to as an air utility vehicle, is expected to have a 1,000-pound payload and be able to fly up to 400 miles at over 500 mph in a variety of applications including cargo deliveries and military logistics.
The LOI builds on a partnership forged with the California-based manufacturer in July under which Savback became the exclusive distributor for the Speeder in the Nordic countries. The companies said the provisional order is valued at $45 million, which implies a list price for each aircraft of $1.8 million.
According to Savback, it will market the Speeder, which is about the size of a quad bike, to military and civil customers in its territory, which covers Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, and Iceland. The company may firm up the provisional order for the Speeder in order to ensure it can meet the required delivery schedule for customers.
“This aircraft is well placed to satisfy the growing needs of our military forces for vehicles that can support contested logistics, casevac [casualty evacuation], and cargo missions in minimal time with maximum reliability,” said the company’s chairman Michael Savback. “The autonomously piloted Speeder reduces human risk and strengthens existing fleet proficiencies; it’s a winning formula all around.”
Mayman Aerospace, which is part of the California-based JetPack Aviation group, conducted tethered flight testing with an initial full-scale prototype in May 2021. The company is now preparing to start untethered flights with a second prototype during 2023 to prepare for a type certification process with the FAA in 2024. In 2021, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command selected the Speeder to take part in the High Speed VTOL (HSVTOL) Concept Challenge organized by the Afwerx unit to evaluate options for military missions.
The vehicle is being designed and manufactured in the U.S. and uses commercial-off-the-shelf turbine engines supplied by unnamed European manufacturers. According to Mayman, it is now reviewing plans for international joint manufacturing agreements and will subsequently submit an application to comply with the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations for exporting military-use products.
Also last year, Mayman Aerospace announced a partnership with Prometheus Fuels to use its Titan Fuel Forge technology to produce zero-carbon fuel to power the Speeder's turbine engines. The companies say the process will "make fuel from air" by reclaiming atmospheric carbon through a proprietary process that strips carbon dioxide molecules from the air and "energizes" then into hydrocarbons that can be made into any type of fuel.