AgustaWestland is pleased to announce the completion of a demonstration of its Rotorcraft Unmanned Aerial System / Optionally Piloted Helicopter (RUAS/OPH) to the Italian Ministry of Defence. The trials were conducted to evaluate modern remote controlled rotorcraft technology and its potential to provide enhanced capabilities for the Italian armed forces in the future.
Under the Research and Development contract, that is included in in the National Military Research Plan, signed with the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) Directorate for Air Armaments the company successfully demonstrated ground station-based remote controlled capabilities for the modified SW-4 Solo RUAS/OPH single-engine helicopter. The basic aircraft has been developed as a result of close cooperation between AgustaWestland and PZL-Swidnik in Poland.
The aircraft successfully completed the planned missions in OPH configuration with a safety pilot on board. The development phase and flight trials, undertaken both in Italy and Poland, were performed from September 2013 through to May 2014, with the final testing completed in Frosinone, Italy. Test activities included system monitoring, ‘hands off’ and remote controlled manoeuvres, hovering and a range of mission profiles.
The SW-4 Solo RUAS/OPH is one of the most technologically advanced achievements of aviation technology in recent years. The SW-4 Solo RUAS/OPH, based on the proven SW-4 light single-engine helicopter, has been designed for both unmanned and piloted operations, providing users with maximum operational flexibility. The RUAS version of the SW-4 is capable of performing a number of roles, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as cargo re-supply. In piloted configuration, the SW-4 can undertake a number of activities, including transportation of personnel, surveillance and intervention. It can be fitted with a comprehensive mission equipment package including search and communications/intelligence systems.
The successful completion of this demonstration confirms the strong cooperation between Finmeccanica – AgustaWestland and the Italian Ministry of Defence for the development of new generation technologies which will pave the way to enhanced operational capabilities in the future. The company is also involved in a dedicated UK MoD programme intended to evaluate advanced RUAS technology and its capabilities.