Applied Research Associates (ARA) yesterday said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted a special airworthiness certificate to the company’s Nighthawk IV micro unmanned aircraft system for the purposes of research and development, customer demonstrations and crew training.

Nighthawk UAS. Photo: ARA

ARA said the certificate means that customers who buy the hand-launched Nighthawk IV will have access to the full set of required documentation and procedures necessary for them to receive FAA approval to fly the aircraft in their designated airspace operating under a Certificate of Authorization. Organizations such as law enforcement agencies, universities and government agencies can apply for COAs to fly in the national airspace.

“The FAA approval of ARA’s combat proven Nighthawk IV micro-UAS technology for use in the national airspace is an important milestone for ARA and its many non-military government customers,” Rob Sues, ARA’s CEO, said in a statement.

More than 200 earlier versions of Nighthawk have been used by the U.S. Army in Iraq.