VFS Supports Launch of AAM Supply Chain Electronic Exchange Platform

AAM CONNEX portal (jpg screenshot)On May 5, VFS-member NEXA Capital Partners, LLC, announced the formation and funding of a collaborative consortium of US companies and organizations to develop and launch an integrated supply chain solution for the emerging advanced air mobility (AAM) industry, which is projected to be multi-trillion-dollar aerospace sector.

“Nations around the world are engaged in a highly competitive race to achieve technological superiority and market dominance with electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft,” said NEXA Capital Managing Partner Michael Dyment. “For the US to stay in and lead this race, it must harness America’s innovative scientific, technical, production and capital market strengths across products and services unique to AAM.”

The goal of the consortium will be to apply its expertise in advanced aerospace systems, eVTOL technologies, manufacturing, electronic exchange platforms, business process improvement, and supply chain optimization to aid the burgeoning AAM sector. 

The consortium will be led by i5 Services LLC, the long-term partner of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and its “Manufacturers Marketplace” electronic exchange platform. NEXA Capital is leading the financing of the project. 

The system will be hosted on an ongoing basis by i5 Services with support from the Vertical Flight Society, ensuring the fullest and broadest possible linkages to the eVTOL development and supplier community. The consortium will also be supported by experts drawn from Apicem Analytics LLC and Crown Consulting Inc., each familiar with supply chain disciplines critical to implementation and wide-spread adoption by the AAM community.

Furthermore, the consortium plans to work closely with US federal agencies including the Department of Defense (DOD), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NASA, in recognition of their invaluable contributions to vertical flight and AAM.

To facilitate rapid advancement of AAM aircraft, the consortium will use the powerful CONNEX electronic exchange platform to link Tier 0 American eVTOL developers to a wide range of local and national suppliers in areas such as:

  • Motors, propellors and power control systems
  • Energy storage systems, including lithium ion and hydrogen fuel cells
  • Avionics including flight control, radio and inertial navigation, surveillance, air to ground communications, and pilot assistance
  • Composites and aerodynamic structures
  • Software, command and control, and artificial intelligence
  • Traffic management systems
  • Improved heliport safety systems

The CONNEX Marketplace website is www.connexmarketplace.com. The CONNEX instantiation for AAM will use an integrated approach to supply chain management and will also address concerns regarding national security and intellectual property ownership. It will also attract more private investment as well as non-dilutive capital to the sector.

The AAM CONNEX platform is currently operational and available at https://airmobility.connexmarketplace.com. It is now available for eVTOL supply chain registration. It will make use of membership rules widely in place today with the NAM Manufacturers Marketplace. The AAM CONNEX currently has some 25,000 US companies that supply aerospace, aviation defense, aviation and other sectors, but will take the next year to progress to full functionality.

Apicem Analytics LLC has deep experience in industrial supply chain strategy, process and workforce optimization and procurement management. Apicem designs resilient and effective supply chains leading to increased aerospace sector growth. Apicem will provide relevant expertise in supply chain management, business and data analytics, electronic platform implementation, and project management. 

Crown Consulting Inc. is a world-class aviation consultancy with significant experience in business process improvement, for industry and government clients. Crown also is a leader in the AAM and UTM fields. Crown has worked with the DOD, FAA and NASA for over 20 years, and is familiar with their mission, multiple priorities and many processes. It will bring this expertise to the effort to ensure that government agencies are fully represented during the project. 

i5 Services has worked for most of the past decade, to develop a robust tool — CONNEX — for national and regional supply chain, workforce, and research and development connections. The solution provides public, member and confidential data that are accessed through secure, role-based permissions. The supply chain visualization, risk assessment and exchange center connections (surplus materials; requests for information, proposals or quotations; and other needs) have set the solution and i5 apart as pioneers and leaders in the industry. 

NEXA Capital Partners is an investment bank and the project financing advisor for the program. NEXA has funded hundreds of millions of dollars in worthy aerospace projects since it was founded in 2007. NEXA also has years of business consulting and work experience in aerospace supply chain optimization. With offices in Washington, DC, and Chicago, Illinois, NEXA works closely with government and industry organizations that drive regulatory requirements vitally important for the aerospace and airline sectors. 

The Vertical Flight Society is the world’s premier educational and technical organization for vertical flight — including leading international eVTOL advocacy efforts since 2014 — and provides collaborative and technical resources for eVTOL developers across the supply chain. A 501(c)(3) educational non-profit, the society was originally founded in 1943 as the American Helicopter Society, and currently has more than 6,000 individual members around the world. 

The Vertical Flight Society
2700 Prosperity Avenue, Suite 275, Fairfax, VA 22031, USA
1-703-684-6777 • fax: 1-703-739-9279 pr@vtol.org • www.vtol.org