PAE ISR has obtained Group III Interim Flight Clearance (IFC) for its Resolute Eagle unmanned aerial system (UAS) from the US Navy’s Naval Air System Command (NAVAIR).

The vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) configuration of the aircraft received IFC status from the US Navy’s NAVAIR in Maryland.

PAE ISR is one of the four prime awardees to receive the $1.73bn worth ISR support services contract from NAVAIR.

The indefinite-delivery / indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract was awarded for a period of five years to provide ISR services for both land and maritime-based autonomous aerial platforms.

IFC status verifies and validates the airworthiness of the Resolute Eagle aircraft in accordance with the NAVAIR IDIQ requirements.

“The granting of this IFC required many hours of work between PAE ISR staff and NAVAIR engineers.”

The PAE ISR aircraft is a multi-intelligence capable, Group III UAS in a single, reconfigurable aircraft designed to carry out reliable landing and recovery operations without a runway.

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Resolute Eagle is equipped with long-range capabilities that provide operators with flexibility of configurations, launch environments and mission profiles.

Built in both standard and VTOL configurations, the UAS platform has a flight endurance of 12 to 18 plus hours depending on its configuration.

PAE ISR chief technology officer Jake Jacobs said: “The granting of the Cat 3 IFC for the Resolute Eagle vertical take-off and landing UAS is a significant milestone for the PAE ISR team and recognises the safety of flight and airworthiness of the Resolute Eagle in the VTOL configuration.

“The granting of this IFC required many hours of work between PAE ISR staff and NAVAIR engineers. The IFC process, dictated by NAVAIRINST 13034.1D and administered by NAVAIR AIR-4.0P ensures the Resolute Eagle VTOL UAS can safely operate down range supporting our men and women in uniform.”

In November last year, the Resolute Eagle aircraft completed its maiden commercial airspace flight at the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range located at Pendleton Airport in Oregon.