Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2018-02-26

Leonardo’s AWHERO to lead Ocean2020

By:Rosa Maria Panadero Martinez
 
Leonardo works towards the certification of AWHERO in 2019, a Remotely-Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) helicopter of 205 kg with a useful load of 85 kg.
 
This kind of UAS has been designed also for maritime applications and it is able to land and take-off fully automatically from ships. The new AWHERO will perform in the trials related to the OCEAN2020 initiative, where Leonardo leads a consortium of 42 European companies, SMEs and national defence ministers. The aim of this research programme is to enhance the situational awareness in a 
maritime environment.
 
“The first demo, scheduled to take place in the Mediterranean Sea in 2019, will see Leonardo’s AWHERO unmanned system operate from Italian Navy’s vessels and teaming with the SW-4 Solo and other European partners’ assets” explained Roberto Pretolani, from Leonardo Helicopters. 
 
AWHERO have six hours of autonomy with 35 kg of payload. Typical maritime configuration includes radar (Leonardo Gabbiano ST Ultra Light), gimbal camera, and Automatic Identification System (AIS). Other configurations may feature, but not limited to, LiDAR (Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging), hyperspectral camera, Electronic Support Measures and communication relay. The AWHERO has a very low logistics impact: especially when operated from a ship and compared to fixed-wing unmanned systems, it doesn’t need dedicated launch and recovery systems and have features like foldable blades” continues Pretolani. Its versatility makes AWHERO a reliable option for maritime and border surveillance, national security, infrastructure surveillance, pipeline and powerline monitoring, in addition to other civilian use such as search, disaster relief support and damage assessment after natural disasters, pipeline monitoring and powerline inspection.
 
“Leonardo’s experience in unmanned vehicles started more than fifty years ago and it is mission-proved,” comments Alessandro Voli, Head of Marketing and Sales for Middle East at Leonardo Airborne & Space Systems Division. “Leonardo has carried out missions for years using its Falco family of remotely-piloted air systems, providing from entire unmanned air systems (air vehicle plus ground segment) to ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) data.” 
 
During UMEX, Leonardo announced that its RPAS Falco family have together logged more than 15,000 hours of operational flight. “Falco was chosen by UN for the Democratic Republic of Congo´s peacekeeping operation MONUSCO,” continued Voli. “It has been the first UAV selected for peace keeping operations and also the only European RPAS in its class to have been exported and operated by international customers.” 
 
The main business models are four: end users may choose to own and operate the system themselves or make it being operated by Leonardo crews; or the customer may choose to buy flying-hours or final data from Leonardo, which will use its 
own systems.” 
 

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