UK-based aerospace manufacturer Vertical Aerospace has signed a manufacturing agreement with Hanwha Aerospace, which is set to advance features of its VX4 aircraft.

Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 aircraft is a one-pilot, four-passenger aircraft that is expected to receive Type Certification by the end of 2026.

The collaboration will oversee manufacturing work across the electric aircraft design, testing, production and delivery of tilt and blade pitch control systems.

The VX4 prototype, which will utilise Hanwha’s technology, is now being manufactured in the UK, with flight operations set for early 2024.

This amendment was signed at the Seoul International Aerospace & Defence Exhibition (ADEX 2023), extending a previous 2022 partnership for the development of Vertical’s EMA (Electro-Mechanical Actuation).

Vertical Aerospace CTO Michael Cervenka emphasised how the partnership has developed: “There has been an opportunity to cooperate with Hanwha in the development of our prototype VX4s that will continue through to the production aircraft; it started with the development of EMA and now our partnership has deepened by expanding to critical aircraft mechanical systems.”

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This agreement demonstrates Hanwha’s commitment to enhancing technology across the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) sector. As stated by Vertical Aerospace, by developing and delivering mass-production actuation and mechanical systems, Hanwha plans to meet the demanding worldwide certification criteria for eVTOL aircraft.

Hanwha Aerospace CEO and president Jae-il Son said: “The strong relationship between the two companies has been firmly established by participating in the development of EMA and demonstration aircraft.”

“The expansion of our business with Vertical to include a top electric actuator system is excellent as Hanwha has been recognised for our competitiveness in system technology in the future mobility field.”

Vertical Aerospace has further demonstrated a successful order portfolio which includes vital clients including American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, JAL, Avolon and Bristow.

Hanwha’s contribution to this partnership also aligns with the government initiative in South Korea which will support the commercialisation of UAM in 2025.

The K-UAM Grand Challenge will serve as a framework for the commercialisation of Korean UAM and promote the plan for a public-private joint demonstration project, the K-UAM Grand Challenge.