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Leonardo AWHero achieves first military certification

22nd October 2021 - 16:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Leonard AWHero has obtained an important military certification. (photo: Leonardo)

Leonardo claims to have obtained the world’s first military certification for a rotary-wing tactical UAS in the 200kg weight class.

The AWHero UAV has received basic military certification from the Italian MoD's Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness, Leonardo announced on 22 October.

The company claimed this marks the first-ever approval for a 200kg rotary-wing UAS.

AWHero has been in development since 2012, with the first prototype unveiled in 2018 and a more aerodynamic variant unveiled in 2019.

The UAV was developed  to provide a low-cost and low maintenance solutions for security, utility, tactical battlefield surveillance and maritime missions.

AWHero is powered by a heavy fuel engine which allows a top speed of 90kt and mission endurance of 6h with a 35kg payload. Its multiple payload capacity allows the UAV to carry EO/IR sensor gimbal in the nose or in the fuselage.

Leonardo noted in a statement that the newly acquired certification is based on elements of the NATO STANAG 4702 standardisation agreement, which sets specific interoperability requirements for rotary-wing UAS.

The military certification represents an important milestone for the development of AWHero, which is currently being considered in a few international tenders.

Shephard reported in March 2021 that Northrop Grumman Australia teamed up with Leonardo to offer AWHero in the Project Sea 129 Phase 5 Block 1 tender,  which aims to deliver a next-generation UAS for the Royal Australian Navy.

The two companies have been down selected to move to the next phase.

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