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AWHERO Unmanned Helicopter Progresses Towards Certification

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Leonardo: AWHERO Remotely Piloted Helicopter Progresses Towards Certification

(Source: Leonardo Helicopters; issued Feb 25, 2018)


-- Two new prototypes under assembly as flight testing continues towards certification in 2019
-- Low-speed testing underway with envelope expansion trials to follow at various test ranges in central Italy
-- Optimized for land and naval operations such as maritime and border surveillance, national security, pipeline and powerline inspection, environmental monitoring and critical infrastructure surveillance, rescue and disaster relief support and damage assessment after natural disasters.


ABU DHABI --- AWHERO remotely piloted helicopter development and testing is on course to achieve certification next year. Two new prototypes are being assembled at Leonardo’s fully owned company Sistemi Dinamici plant in Pisa (Italy) as flight trials activities continue with the existing test aircraft.

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.

AWHERO 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 (Rotary Unmanned Air System) 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. AWHERO is also being evaluated by many potential customers worldwide.

AWERO is a state-of-the-art 200 kg class remotely piloted helicopter (RUAS - Rotary Unmanned Air System), which brings together Leonardo's experience in helicopters and system integration.

The design of AWHERO responds to current and future market requirements for increasingly extended operational capabilities through the use of unmanned systems. Developed for land and naval operations, with maximum versatility in mind, AWHERO is the perfect solution in terms of cost effectiveness for tasks such as maritime and border surveillance, national security, critical infrastructure surveillance, pipeline and powerline monitoring, rescue and disaster relief support and damage assessment after natural disasters.


Leonardo is among the top ten global players in Aerospace, Defence and Security and Italy’s main industrial company. As a single entity from January 2016, organised into seven business divisions (Helicopters; Aircraft; Aero-structures; Airborne & Space Systems; Land & Naval Defence Electronics; Defence Systems; Security & Information Systems), Leonardo operates in the most competitive international markets by leveraging its areas of technology and product leadership. Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange (LDO), in 2016 Leonardo recorded consolidated revenues of 12 billion Euros and has a significant industrial presence in Italy, the UK, the U.S. and Poland.

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