The board includes former senior military officials from the Navy, Army, Special Operations Command and Office of the Secretary of Defense
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Elroy Air, the company developing an end-to-end autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) cargo system, has announced a newly formed Defense Advisory Board to support the company’s forward trajectory and customer success with the U.S. Government and allies. The board’s members include high-ranking former U.S. military officials who will play a pivotal role in guiding the company’s strategic direction and enhancing its product offerings for government customers.
The advisory board members include:
- Rear Admiral Lorin Selby, U.S. Navy (ret), former Chief of Naval Research
- The Honorable Ellen M. Lord, former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment
- General Richard D. Clarke, U.S. Army (ret), former Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command
- Lt General H.R. McMaster, U.S. Army (ret), former U.S. National Security Advisor
Elroy Air’s Chaparral system is a multi-mission, hybrid-electric VTOL cargo system capable of autonomous resupply to troops in the field, obviating the use of large and costly aircraft for smaller-payload resupply missions in contested environments and eliminating risks to aircrew.
Elroy Air currently has three active contracts with the U.S. Air Force and a Cooperative Research & Development Agreement with U.S. Special Operations Command. The company recently demonstrated the autonomous cargo-handling capabilities of its Chaparral system at Travis Air Force Base as part of the Mobility Guardian exercise.
“The Chaparral is a dual-use aircraft that has attracted the interest of the defense community for its agile ability to provide logistics and resupply troops in austere locations. We’re honored to welcome these highly-accomplished leaders to our team. Their deep expertise and strategic guidance will be instrumental in strengthening our position in the defense market and ensuring our aircraft and cargo systems meet the needs of U.S. and allied forces in the field,” said CEO and Co-Founder David Merrill. “Through their collective input, we’ll ensure that we’re developing systems that meet the ever-evolving needs of our troops.”
Members of Elroy Air’s advisory board bring unrivaled experience from across the U.S. government, including the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, and U.S. Special Operations Command–-as well as from the Defense Department’s most senior acquisition professional. Their involvement will support Elroy Air’s navigation of the U.S. government and defense acquisitions, enabling Elroy Air to forge additional business partnerships and secure substantial opportunities.
Rear Admiral Lorin Selby led the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and was responsible for directing, coordinating, and promoting scientific research and technology development for the United States Navy and Marine Corps.
“I have been tracking Elroy Air for some time, and am enthusiastic to join the Defense Advisory Board. Elroy Air’s Chaparral hybrid-electric VTOL platform is well-positioned to transform the DoD’s contested logistics capabilities, and to disrupt commercial middle-mile logistics,” said Selby. “Challenging the way the DoD seeks and procures new technology is my passion, and I look forward to contributing to Elroy Air’s important mission.”
The Honorable Ellen M. Lord served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S), overseeing acquisition, developmental test, logistics, operational energy, and defense industry matters for the DoD. Prior to this appointment, Lord served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Textron Systems Corporation.
“Elroy Air’s transformational Chaparral system combines the runway-independence and safety of eVTOL with the extended range and operational flexibility of hybrid-electric powertrain. This presents a new autonomous logistics capability that is on-target to make an outsized contribution for the Defense and commercial markets,” said Lord. “In aerospace it’s rare to see a young team develop such a world-class group of customers, partners, and investors. I’m thrilled to join Dave and Clint as part of the Defense Advisory Board to help Elroy Air scale and bring Chaparral to the world.”
General Richard D. Clarke served as the 12th Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, FL.
“I’m incredibly excited to work with Dave Merrill and the Elroy Air team as they bring a needed and novel aerial platform to our troops, who face increasingly contested and challenging operational environments,” said Clarke. “Having commanded Special Operations Forces working around the globe, one of the biggest challenges that they face are logistics when working in small, distributed teams, oftentimes in inhospitable environments. Elroy Air provides unique, unmanned, autonomous, low-cost and innovative technology that can provide our military a critical capability.”
Retired Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster is a career U.S. Army officer and a highly-respected military strategist and historian, who served as the 25th United States National Security Advisor.
“Military forces must operate widely dispersed and sustain operations at the end of extended and contested lines of supply,” said McMaster. “Elroy Air is providing an example of what we need to maintain our competitive advantage in defense — disruptive innovation to overcome challenges and ensure the Joint Force’s freedom of movement and action, even in the most austere and strongly contested environments.”
The Chaparral is a “lift plus cruise” hybrid eVTOL cargo aircraft that leverages the benefits of both conventional turbines and electric propulsion, for efficient autonomous operation and longer range. Engineered with an advanced carbon composite airframe, Chaparral can be configured to ship inside a 40-foot container or in aircraft for rapid global deployment.
Elroy Air has introduced advanced modular cargo pods that complement the Chaparral’s capabilities. The pods are pre-loaded by ground personnel and autonomously retrieved by the Chaparral aircraft before takeoff. Upon arrival at the delivery location, the aircraft autonomously lowers the pod to the ground. The Chaparral aircraft then retrieves the next pre-packed pod, creating a seamless bi-directional conveyor belt through the sky.
About Elroy Air
Elroy Air is developing industry-first autonomous aircraft systems and cutting-edge software solutions, revolutionizing the world of express shipping. Leveraging hybrid-electric and autonomous vehicle technologies, their vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) systems transcend traditional airport limitations, unlocking new frontiers in commercial air cargo. From swift autonomous resupply for troops to dynamic disaster response and firefighting support, their technology reshapes logistics possibilities. With headquarters in South San Francisco, California, Elroy Air is backed by premier venture capital firms including Catapult Ventures, Marlinspike Capital, Snowpoint Ventures, and Shield Capital. Strategic investments from industry giants like Lockheed Martin Ventures and, alongside support from visionary angel investors including early Uber executives, drive our mission to provide same-day delivery to every person on the planet.
For more information, visit http://elroyair.com.