Reliable Robotics, a leader in safety-enhancing aircraft automation systems, has announced completion of a KC-135 Stratotanker Automation Study for the US Air Force (USAF).

The study was commissioned by the USAF as part of a Small Business Innovation Research Phase III contract to examine in detail how Reliable’s aircraft-agnostic autonomous flight system would be integrated into large multi-engine aircraft.

Most significantly, findings from the KC-135 Automation Report further validated that Reliable’s commercially developed technology can be scaled to automate all phases of KC-135 operation including taxi, takeoff and landing, while continuing to mature automation of the refuelling boom.

The report was presented to senior Air Mobility Command (AMC) leadership earlier this year.

“The Air Force is continually innovating, and autonomy will be a key enabler for global missions and agile combat employment,” said Colonel Lisa A. Nemeth, Headquarters Air Mobility Command A5/8, Deputy Director Strategy, Plans, Requirements, and Programs.

“Automating the KC-135 for refueling, cargo transport, and joint operations with coalition military forces will allow pilots and crew to focus on higher-complexity tasks.”

With nearly 400 in operation, the KC-135 Stratotanker serves a crucial role in meeting the refueling and air mobility needs of the United States Air Force.

Bringing remotely piloted operations to the KC-135 will enable increased operational tempo, innovative logistics capabilities, enhanced readiness and significantly lower operational costs.

Automated aerial refueling enables air power to be projected farther downrange by sustaining the force in dynamic and contested environments.

Leveraging Reliable’s aircraft automation technology will provide these transformational capabilities rapidly at reduced procurement costs for the Department of Defense.
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