AgustaWestland has successfully demonstrated the ground-station-based remote controlled capabilities of its modified SW-4 Solo rotorcraft unmanned aerial system / optionally piloted helicopter (RUAS/OPH) to the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Undertaken in Italy and Poland, the nine-month flight testing programme validated the helicopter and its potential to offer enhanced capabilities for the Italian Armed Forces in future.
The trials were carried out as part of the research and development contract included in the National Military Research Plan and signed with the MoD's Directorate for Air Armaments.
During the development phase and flight trials, the helicopter successfully completed the planned missions in OPH configuration with a safety pilot on board. Specific test activities included system monitoring, hands off and remote controlled manoeuvres, as well as hovering and a range of mission profiles.
Derived from the proven SW-4 light single-engine helicopter, the SW-4 Solo has been designed for both unmanned and piloted operations, providing users with maximum operational flexibility.
Jointly developed by AgustaWestland and PZL-Swidnik in Poland, the helicopter can perform a range of missions, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), as well as cargo re-supply in RUAS configuration.
The piloted variant can also undertake personnel transport, surveillance and intervention, and can be fitted with a comprehensive mission equipment package, including search and communications / intelligence systems.
Image: The SW-4 Solo rotorcraft unmanned aerial system/optionally piloted helicopter in flight. Photo: © 2012 AgustaWestland - A Finmeccanica Company.