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Reliable Robotics, a leader in safety-enhancing aircraft automation systems, provided a demonstration during the recent Golden Phoenix readiness exercise at Travis Air Force Base (AFB). This exercise demonstrated capabilities that will help the United States Air Force (USAF) modernize and project safe, rapid, global mobility. During the flight, Reliable’s remotely operated aircraft system was engaged for an end-to-end automated mission including auto-taxi, auto-takeoff, climbout and auto-landing with an onboard test pilot.
"This signifies a historic milestone as an aircraft, under the guidance of Air Mobility Command airmen, autonomously taxied, took off, and landed at an AMC base for the first time," said Maj. Wesley Williams, Travis AFB Phoenix Spark Innovation Lab. "Today marked a truly historic day for the Air Force. This is how we win.”
Reliable’s remotely operated aircraft system includes high precision navigation, sophisticated flight planning capabilities and robust flight controls. The system Reliable is developing and certifying will enable continuous autopilot engagement through all phases of flight and support remote piloting across multiple types of aircraft. Last year, the certification basis for Reliable’s advanced navigation and autoflight system was accepted by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“Commercial innovation can increase the Air Force’s ability to generate air power, more frequently and over longer distances, providing our Airmen greater options in leading critical missions around the world,” said Col. Derek Salmi, 60th Air Mobility Wing commander. “It was inspiring to watch the autonomous flight demonstration… partnerships between industry and Airmen offer endless possibilities.”
Reliable’s solution allows the Air Force to benefit from state of the art, commercial technology at fractional costs. This technology will provide increased aircraft availability, more options in deploying aircraft in crewed, uncrewed or “pilot +1” configurations while requiring fewer deployed Air Force personnel in high-risk regions. Remote piloting enables safe and efficient aircraft operation in all flying environments, strengthening the Air Force’s mission to supply forward operations around the clock, and around the globe.
Reliable Robotics is currently working with the Air Force under a Phase III Small Business Innovative Research contract to demonstrate flight performance and safety of remotely piloted aircraft in dynamic operating environments. Reliable also received a recent award from the Air Force to explore the automation of large, multi-engine jets.