AgustaWestland has completed demonstration activities of an optionally piloted helicopter based on the SW-4 Puszczyk light-single manufactured by its Polish subsidiary PZL Swidnik.
Called the SW-4 Solo, it has been developed under a research contract with the Italian defence ministry to "evaluate modern remote controlled rotorcraft technology and its potential to provide enhanced capabilities for the Italian armed forces" says the Anglo-Italian airframer.
Flight testing, carried out in both Poland and Italy, began in September 2013 and concluded this May, with the final evaluations conducted in Frosinone, Italy.
Test activities included system monitoring, ‘hands off’ and remote-controlled manoeuvres, hovering and a range of mission profiles. A pilot was on board during the optionally piloted phase of the testing as a safety precaution.
AgustaWestland says the platform can perform a number of missions including personnel transportation, surveillance and intervention.
Alongside the work with Italy, AgustaWestland is also collaborating with the UK Ministry of Defence on a programme to "evaluate advanced [rotorcraft unmanned air system] technology and its capabilities", it says.