UVision USA and Axxeum recently launched a loitering munition from an airborne helicopter.
The trial saw a Bell 412EP helicopter launching a Hero 120 loitering munition to strike a land target during the EDGE 23 event in May at the Yuma Proving Ground.
The Hero 120 has a communication range of 40 kilometers (25 miles) and a warhead of 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds).
The developers tested several parameters during the sensor-to-shooter cycle demonstration, including the anti-armor munition’s safe separation from the aircraft.
They also tested “transferring tactical control between the on-board operator and the ground operator six times, pursuing the munition to a forward location, controlling the system within a 30-kilometer (18.6 miles) range from the helicopter, and effectively attacking a ground target over a 50-kilometer (31 miles) flight,” UVision’s American subsidiary explained.
Munition Integration, Safe Launch
Aviation services provider Axxeum designed the canister launcher’s fully mechanical docking system, “conducted all structural and load analysis,” and “established safe flight envelopes.”
Accurate modeling allowed electrically-triggered launches “without the need for integration with the helicopter’s electrical systems or flight controls,” ensuring safe installation and launch.
“The company conducted extensive mechanical and aerodynamic analyses over five months to ensure the system’s performance and its impact on the helicopter were thoroughly tested,” UVisionAir Ltd CEO Major General (Ret.) Avi Mizrachi explained.
Axxeum CEO Oleg Sirbu added, “The combined efforts brought forward a capability in five months that not many other companies could have completed.”