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Leonardo’s SW-4 Unmanned Helicopter at Unmanned Warrior 2016
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Leonardo: SW-4 ‘Solo' Rotary Wing Unmanned Air Vehicle and Advanced Airborne Sensors at Unmanned Warrior 2016
(Source: Leonardo-Finmeccanica; issued Nov 16, 2016)
The SW-4 light helicopter developed by Leonardo’s Polish subsidiary, PZL Swidnik, and fitted with the SAGE EW suite and Osprey E-scan radar was demonstrated in the ISTAR role at Unmanned Warrior 2016 (Leonardo photo)
Unmanned Warrior provided Leonardo the opportunity to demonstrate to the Royal Navy and other international observers the capabilities of its unmanned rotorcraft and airborne systems in a tactically representative maritime environment. The company has been investing in unmanned rotorcraft technology which it believes can deliver or contribute to the delivery of a wide range of missions cost effectively and also complement its range of manned naval helicopters.
Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said: “The growing scale of Unmanned Warrior is a clear demonstration of the Royal Navy’s ambition to lead and win through technological innovation. Unmanned maritime systems will change how we operate, but they’re just the start. Our pursuit of new technologies and ideas will ensure we remain one of the most capable and successful navies in the world.”
The SW-4 ‘Solo’ Rotary Unmanned Air System (RUAS) is based on the proven SW-4 light single engine helicopter. It is designed for both piloted (Optionally Piloted Helicopter, OPH) and unmanned operations, for maximum operational flexibility. The RUAS version of the SW-4 is capable of performing a number of roles, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and cargo re-supply, in both land and naval environments. When piloted, the SW-4 ‘Solo’ can undertake manned activities including transportation of personnel, surveillance and intervention. The SW-4 is EASA certified, ensuring safe operations when operating in the manned and unmanned modes.
SAGE is an Electronic Warfare support system for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It passively collects data from Radio Frequency (RF) emitters at a tactically significant range, compares them with an emitter library identifying and geo-locating any threats. The system is sufficiently flexible to be integrated onto a very wide range of aerial vehicles including fixed and rotary wing aircraft, plus unmanned aerial systems. SAGE is available for export for rotary and fixed wing platform applications.
Leonardo is an international leader in radar technology and the Osprey is the world’s first radar to provide E-Scan coverage without moving parts or the need for a bulky external radome, all in a package light enough to fit on the SW-4 Solo unmanned helicopter. The 1-panel version of the Osprey demonstrated during Unmanned Warrior provides a 120 degree instantaneous field of view and a range of digital modes including weather detection, air-to-air targeting and a ground moving target indicator (GMTI). Osprey has already been selected (in its 3 panel, 360 degree version) for the Norwegian AW101 search and rescue helicopter and the radar has also been chosen by customers in the United States.
The skyISTAR state-of-the-art mission management and sensor system has been used to integrate and manage the electro-optical sensor, Osprey radar and Sage ESM all mounted on board the ‘Solo’ RUAV. During Unmanned Warrior, the advanced mission management capability within skyISTAR demonstrated its advanced algorithms covering sensor planning, multi sensor tracking, data fusion and data exploitation. This capability reduces the sensor operator workload and provides a coherent and prioritised overall picture allowing the Royal Navy to readily exploit the information across the rest of the exercise.