Leonardo’s AWHERO remotely piloted helicopter will achieve certification next year as flight trials activities continue with the existing test aircraft.
Two new prototypes are being assembled at Leonardo’s fully owned company Sistemi Dinamici plant in Pisa (Italy), the press release states. Tests underway will see completion of low speed flights at a range close to Pisa, followed by envelope expansion at another range in central Italy before prototypes 3 and 4 begin ground and flight trials.
AWERO is a state-of-the-art 200 kg class remotely piloted helicopter (RUAS - Rotary Unmanned Air System), which will have a maximum gross weight of 205 kg and a useful load of 85 kg (fuel plus payload) with a maximum endurance in excess of 6 hours. The aircraft is designed to deliver high reliability and low operating costs.. Payload options include a radar (such as the Leonardo Gabbiano ST Ultra Light), electro-optics, LiDAR and advanced communication systems. For maritime roles, the aircraft features a deck sensor and autopilot modes specially developed to permit landings and take-offs from ships and benefits from the extensive experience Leonardo has in the naval helicopter domain. The AWHERO will also be able to be fully integrated into unmanned-manned teaming those scenarios, be it over land or sea.
In 2019, the new RUAS will be used for maritime surveillance capability demonstrations on ships within the framework of the OCEAN2020 initiatives, where Leonardo will lead a team of 42 European aerospace companies.