Reliable Robotics achieves a milestone in Large Aircraft Automation for USAF

A US Air Force staff member looks at flight automation image on screen.
Phot Credit: Reliable Robotics

Reliable Robotics, a leader in safety-enhancing aircraft automation systems, has made significant progress towards a working autonomy solution for the U.S. Air Force.

Reliable’s automation system enables continuous autopilot engagement through all phases of aircraft operation, including taxi, takeoff and landing with a remote pilot supervising operations.

The Power of Automation

Reliable Robotics’ automation system is a game-changer, allowing for continuous autopilot engagement throughout every phase of aircraft operation.

From taxiing on the runway to takeoff and even landing, all of this can be executed with a remote pilot supervising operations.

This technological leap holds the promise of higher aircraft utilization, more frequent deployments, and nearly uninterrupted long-haul flights.

One of the key developments is the application of this system to large multi-engine US Air Force jets like the KC-135 Stratotanker.


By enabling remote operation of these heavy aircraft, Reliable Robotics is ushering in a new era of enhanced efficiency and operational flexibility.

The need for crew repositioning logistics potentially becomes a thing of the past, allowing these aircraft to fly longer distances without interruption.

Cargo Logistics and Refueling Capacity

Reliable Robotics, through an Air Force-funded contract, conducted a comprehensive analysis of its Remotely Operated Aircraft System (ROAS).

The aim was to explore the possibilities of automation in cargo logistics and refueling capacity. The results were nothing short of extraordinary:

Upgrades for Remote Operation: The airframes under scrutiny demonstrated their readiness to accommodate the necessary system upgrades for remote operation.

Minimal adjustments were required, primarily for remote piloting and select refueling operations. Navigation and communications enhancements were also identified to align with future military operating environments.

Efficiency Parallels Commercial Operations: Large remotely piloted military aircraft can achieve efficiency levels comparable to commercial counterparts, all without the need to manufacture entirely new aircraft.

This cost-effective approach promises a significant financial advantage for the Air Force.

Reliability in the National Airspace: The same high levels of system reliability mandated under FAA certification can be seamlessly integrated into the ROAS architecture and hardware.

This means that the system can maintain its integrity and safety standards even while flying larger airframes in the U.S. National Airspace System.

A Vision for Autonomy

David O’Brien, Major General (Ret.) and Senior Vice President of Government Solutions at Reliable Robotics, shares his vision: “At Reliable Robotics, we are obsessed with enabling previously unimaginable capabilities for the U.S. Air Force through autonomy.”

He continues, “Automating existing inventory at fractional costs will provide commanders unprecedented flexibility and safety in meeting acute operational demands with the smallest deployed human footprint.”

FAA Certification and Beyond

Reliable Robotics’ certification plan has already received formal acceptance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Once certified, the system will usher in a new era of aviation safety. Expect higher precision navigation, sophisticated flight planning capabilities, and more robust flight controls, all achievable with or without onboard crew.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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