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Leonardo Introduces Revamped AWHero Helicopter Drone for Maritime Missions

Leonardo showcased upgrades to its 200-kilogram (440-pound) AWHero helicopter drone for multi-purpose maritime operations during a technology exhibit in La Spezia, Italy.

The company displayed the system’s new features, including an airframe modification, heavy fuel power plant, and advanced sensor modularity, including the firm’s proprietary Gabbiano TS Ultralight maritime radar for all-weather coverage.

The rotary-wing platform also has an increased payload bay capacity, improved on-deck stability, system and sensor integration availability, and a wider field of view.

The modernized drone kept some of its basic capabilities, such as the core avionic system, control station, data-link architecture, transmission, and rotor system.

“AWHero is part of a forward-looking roadmap that Leonardo is implementing to maintain its leadership in vertical flight applications in the frame of current and future technological evolutions, which will extensively re-shape this industry,” Leonardo Helicopters Managing Director Gian Piero Cutillo stated.

“Within this roadmap, uncrewed systems and relevant enabling technologies are key elements in which the company has been significantly investing, while leveraging a fruitful collaboration with the Italian Military Authorities.”

Leonardo’s Upgraded AWHero

AWHero is designed to support naval and multi-domain operations such as anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition, and combat support.

The vertical flight drone can be deployed for force and border protection, electronic warfare, communication relay, and naval combat management system integration.

“The system enhancements unveiled today reflect the incremental yet firm move from basic design to CONOPS (Concept of Operations) focused configuration,” Cutillo said.

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

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