In October, Leonardo-Finmeccanica participated in the Royal Navy’s Unmanned Warrior 2016 event – the largest demonstration of unmanned maritime systems ever held. Among the technologies the company showcased at the event were the SOLO UAS and the capabilities of the skyISTAR mission management system.
The SW-4 SOLO UAS is based on the proven SW-4 light single engine helicopter and designed for both piloted and unmanned operations, for maximum operational flexibility. The EASA certified UAS version is capable of performing a number of roles, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and cargo re-supply, in both land and naval environments. When piloted, SOLO can undertake additional activities including transportation of personnel, surveillance and intervention.
Leonardo also demonstrated the capabilities of its airborne sensors such as the SAGE electronic warfare and OSPREY E-Scan radar systems, integrated using its skyISTAR mission management system in order to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. SAGE is an Electronic Warfare support system for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It passively collects data from RF emitters at a tactically significant range, compares them with an emitter library identifying and geo-locating any threats. The system is sufficiently flexible to be integrated onto a very wide range of aerial vehicles including fixed and rotary wing aircraft, plus unmanned aerial systems. SAGE is available for export for rotary and fixed wing platform applications.
OSPREY is the world’s first radar to provide E-Scan coverage without moving parts or the need for a bulky external radome, all in a package light enough to fit on the SOLO unmanned helicopter. The 1-panel version of the OSPREY demonstrated during Unmanned Warrior provides a 120° instantaneous field of view and a range of digital modes including weather detection, air-to-air targeting and a ground moving target indicator (GMTI). OSPREY has already been selected (in its 3 panel, 360° version) for the Norwegian AW101 search and rescue helicopter and has also been chosen by customers in the United States.
The skyISTAR mission management and sensor system has been used to integrate and manage the electro-optical sensor, OSPREY radar and Sage ESM all mounted on board the SOLO UAS. During Unmanned Warrior, the advanced mission management capability within skyISTAR demonstrated its advanced algorithms covering sensor planning, multi sensor tracking, data fusion and data exploitation. This capability reduces the sensor operator workload and provides a coherent and prioritised overall picture allowing the Royal Navy to readily exploit the information across the rest of the exercise.
Unmanned Warrior provided Leonardo the opportunity to demonstrate to the Royal Navy and other international observers the capabilities of its unmanned rotorcraft and airborne systems in a tactically representative maritime environment. The company has been investing in unmanned rotorcraft technology which it believes can deliver or contribute to the delivery of a wide range of missions cost effectively and also complement its range of manned naval helicopters.