Polish manufacturer PZL-Świdnik has announced plans to fly an unmanned/optionally-piloted version of its single-engined SW-4 helicopter, revealing the development during the 3-6 September MSPO exhibition in Kielce, Poland.

"The maiden flight of the Solo prototype, in a piloted configuration, is expected not later than June 2013," said Nicola Bianco, managing director of the AgustaWestland-owned company. "But we want to fly it earlier."

 SW-4 Solo - Bartosz Glowacki

Bartosz Glowacki

The Solo is a development of the SW-4 Puszczyk trainer, 20 of which are used by the Polish Air Force Academy in Deblin.

Świdnik last year began piloted flight tests to collect the data needed to develop an unmanned version, with software development for its flight management system and ground control station being conducted by AgustaWestland in Italy.

Powered by one Rolls-Royce M250 C20R/2 engine producing 457shp (336kW), the development would be capable of performing a range of military and law enforcement tasks, carrying surveillance and communications equipment. It could also be armed for some battlefield duties, or fly cargo supply and medical evacuation sorties.

Sources suggest that the Italian armed forces could have a requirement for the Solo, although no official requirements have been published.

Source: Flight International