The Italian Directorate for Air Armaments and Airworthiness (DAAA) has granted military certification for Leonardo’s rotary tactical uncrewed aerial system (RUAS), ‘AWHero’, in the 200kg weight class.

The company claims the latest achievement to be the world’s first military certification for a Rotary UAS in its category.

The AWHero design is based on the company’s expertise in rotorcraft development, system integration and other embarked helicopter operations.

The solution has been designed to undertake a wide range of tactical battlefield and maritime missions.

It has been deployed as part of defence and security exercises under the EU’s OCEAN2020 maritime surveillance programme.

OCEAN2020 initiative is the European Defence Fund (EDF) strategic research programme for naval surveillance technology and safety. Led by Leonardo, the programme includes 43 organisations in Europe.

Since 2019, the AWHero UAS has been carrying out maritime surveillance capability demonstrations on ships under the OCEAN2020 initiative.

Leonardo noted that AWHero is also currently being considered in global tenders.

A team of Northrop Grumman Australia and Leonardo Australia team was selected to move ahead to the next phase of the SEA129 Phase 5 programme.

This programme is aimed at procuring a maritime UAS designed to deliver a ‘deployable’ intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) capability to the Royal Australian Navy.

This proposal will improve the capability effects and tactical decision-making of RAN when performing maritime missions.