Leonardo’s optionally piloted SW-4 Solo helicopter flew for the first time from the Taranto-Grottaglie Airport on 15th December, kicking off a new test campaign to verify the aircraft’s operational characteristics and validate flight procedures, in both normal and emergency conditions.
The campaign is part of a collaboration started in 2015 between Leonardo, Aeroporti di Puglia (AdP) and the DTA aerospace cluster for the “Grottaglie Test Bed” — a candidate to become the Italian solution to the national and European industry demand for the testing of unmanned aircraft.
The flight campaign, carried out in collaboration with the DTA and Ente Nazionale Aviazione Civile (ENAC, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority), will continue during the first few months of 2017. The validation of procedures and regulations for the use of unmanned aircraft are among its key objectives.
The Solo, derived from the SW-4 helicopter produced by Leonardo in Poland and equipped with advanced systems and sensors also made by the company in Italy and the UK, is designed to operate with or without pilot on board. It is offered for applications such as hydrological and critical infrastructure monitoring, firefighting, search and rescue, patrol, and disaster relief activities.
The Solo recently participated in the UK Royal Navy exercise Unmanned Warrior 2016, demonstrating the capabilities of the platform equipped with the SAGE electronic warfare system, Osprey E-Scan radar and skyISTAR mission management system.