Reliable Robotics Awarded Military Airworthiness Approval for a Commercial Autonomous Flight System

Reliable Robotics, a provider in autonomous aircraft systems, announces that it has received military airworthiness approval to begin flight testing and operational missions of its remotely piloted Cessna 208 Caravan for the U.S. Air Force. This approval signifies a deeper level of engagement with the Department of Defense (DoD) by enabling Reliable to demonstrate dual-use automated flight capabilities for military use cases, including cargo missions.

“Nothing compares to showcasing how our autonomous flight capabilities will immediately enable new ways for the U.S. Air Force and other departments of the military to lead with innovation, improve safety and project power across the globe,” says Dr. David O’Brien, Major General (Ret.), and senior vice president of Government Solutions at Reliable Robotics.

DoD airworthiness policies require all aircraft and air systems owned, leased, operated, used, designed or modified for Air Force applications complete an airworthiness assessment in accordance with Air Force standards. In order to meet these requirements, Reliable completed a comprehensive safety analysis; maintenance and operational evaluations; and testing of the automated flight technologies. This airworthiness achievement was a key milestone of Reliable’s Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract.

“Our AFWERX partners are developing exciting automation technologies through robust engineering and flight-test campaigns,” says Hank “Hog” Griffiths, AFWERX Airworthiness and Test lead. “The technology is maturing rapidly, and this airworthiness approval for a certified aircraft retrofitted with an autonomous flight system provides significant opportunities for the military.”

Reliable’s collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and AFWERX began in 2021 and includes SBIR awards, as well as a large aircraft automation study. In 2023, Reliable demonstrated automated flight for distinguished military personnel as part of the Golden Phoenix exercise at Travis Air Force base.

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