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Leonardo unveils AWHero Rotary Uncrewed Aerial System

Photo: Leonardo

Leonardo unveiled the latest developments for its 200 kg class AWHero RUAS (Rotary Uncrewed Aerial System) during an official ceremony held at SEAFUTURE 2023, June 5.

At the ceremony held in Italy, Leonardo showcased the new AWHero RUAS, built upon the previous RUAS 2021 system.

The rotor system and transmissions, core avionic system, data-link architecture, and control station stayed the same, while the company introduced several new upgrades in the recent RUAS version.

The upgrades include a twin-engine heavy fuel powerplant, airframe modifications for operational advantages such as enhanced powerplant integration, increased payload bay capacity, improved system/sensor integration and field of view, better maintainability, and on-deck stability.

Additionally, the latest sensor modularity features the Leonardo Gabbiano TS Ultralight maritime radar, delivering all-weather wide area coverage, while ensuring enhanced survivability and cyber resilience.

The new system enhancements represent a shift from fundamental design to a CONOPS (Concept of Operations) oriented configuration, specifically tailored for operations in the naval domain, the company says.

According to the company, the AWHero has been tuned to provide support to a diverse array of assets engaged in various naval and multi-domain operations, encompassing roles such as ISTAR (Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance), ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare), Electronic Warfare, Communication Relay, Border Protection, Combat support, and Force Protection.

“The system enhancements unveiled today reflect the incremental yet firm move from basic design to CONOPS focused configuration,” Gian Piero Cutillo, MD of Leonardo Helicopters, said.

“This is particularly true for the relevant naval applications, which remain a priority market for these kinds of systems, which are able to meet intelligence and situational awareness extension capabilities with an optimized use of resources.” 

According to the company, as part of the OCEAN2020 initiative led by Leonardo, AWHero has conducted maritime surveillance capability demonstrations on ships since 2019, benefiting from various RUAS capability demonstration initiatives in Italy, the UK, and Europe.