Military Embedded Systems

Autonomy provider Reliable Robotics approved for USAF funding increase program


March 21, 2024

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Air Force photo by Matthew Clouse

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. Autonomous aircraft company Reliable Robotics reported that it gained approval to participate in the 2024 AFWERX Tactical Funding Increase (TACFI) program for the U.S. Air Force (USAF); the TACFI program was launced to “bridge the capability gap” between current Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) efforts to facilitate the delivery of strategic capabilities for the USAF.

As a participant in the TACFI program, Reliable Robotics reports that it has demonstrated flexible remote piloting capabilities at McClellan Airfield during the recent Air Force Agile Flag exercise; gained military airworthiness approval for autonomous flight testing and operational missions of Reliable’s Cessna 208 Caravan for the U.S. Air Force; conducted a large aircraft automation study to adapt Reliable’s autonomous flight system for airframes such as the KC-135; demonstrated autonomous flight at Travis Air Force base for distinguished military personnel as part of the Golden Phoenix exercise.

In addition, the company reports that TACFI selection and Reliable’s follow-on Phase III SBIR contract both extend and continue Reliable’s previous Phase II contract. 

“The TACFI Program is a valuable funding mechanism to bolster SBIR projects and its application to autonomy development unlocks significant product acceleration, maturation and demonstration of operationally relevant mission sets,” said Lt Col Bryan Ralston, Autonomy Prime Branch Chief. “Autonomy is a key enabler for future military tactical air dominance and forward basing operations.”

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