Israeli uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) manufacturer Steadicopter is bringing its armed helicopter platform to the USA.
Steadicopter on 4 October said it will display the Golden Eagle rotary UAS during the annual Association of the US Army in Washington DC, starting on 9 October, with an eye toward landing sales.
“We are eager to foster partnerships with various defence and homeland security organisations in the United States as our systems are equipped with technologies tailored to the requirements of the US Army, Navy, Marines, [special operations] and homeland-security users,” says Noam Lidor, Steadicopter’s vice-president of sales and business development.
The company currently supplies the Israeli Defense Forces, including Israel’s army and navy.
While the defence industry has produced numerous examples of armed fixed-wing UAS, and some rotary UAS, the Golden Eagle is notable in being an armed pilotless helicopter.
The type’s lethal payload is also unique. Rather than using guided missiles or bombs, Golden Eagle carries direct-fire weapons like rifles and grenade launchers.
That armament package is enabled by Smash Dragon, a robotic weapon system developed by Israeli automated-targeting and fire-system developer Smart Shooter. Smash Dragon allows various UAS platforms to be mounted with existing direct-fire weapons operated by remote gunners.
Steadicopter describes the system as a stabilisation package that uses “proprietary target acquisition, tracking algorithms and sophisticated computer-vision capabilities that allow accurate hitting of static and moving targets”.
It says the Golden Eagle uses AI technology to identify and track targets and is the first uncrewed helicopter to have precision-guided direct-fire weapons. The company deputed the Golden Eagle in 2022 at the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris.
Steadicopter does not specify the Golden Eagle’s propulsion system, but says it is based on the all-electric variant of its earlier Golden Eagle UAS – the Black Eagle 50E. The company also sells Black Eagles with conventional-fuel engines and with hybrid-propulsion configurations.