Israeli company Duke Airborne Systems has developed a remote weapon station it claims will enable utility helicopter crews to complete missions without the need for an attack helicopter escort.
Company chief executive Sagiv Aharon says the full system, including ammunition, weighs 500kg (1,100lb) – making it suitable for use on rotorcraft ranging up in size from the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. Aerial trials of the land-proven technology are planned for the near future, and negotiations are under way with potential partners, he adds.
The design uses a capsule which occupies one-third of the cargo space near the helicopter's door, and from which a firing unit comprising a cannon and targeting sensor can be mounted beneath the fuselage using a cargo hook. The unit offers 360˚ firing capability, including an automatic gunfire-location and -suppression function, and requires no dedicated operator.
Duke Airborne Systems
According to its developers, the weapons station meets balance requirements and weight limitations, and in an emergency the system can be jettisoned by the pilot.