Aviation

AW149 demonstrates weapon firing capabilities

Leonardo’s contender for the UK’s requirements for a new medium helicopter, the AW149, has carried out firing tests as part of efforts to optimize the type for military operations. In this first round of tests, 2.75-inch (70 mm) unguided and laser-guided missiles were launched, although the helicopter’s open-architecture system makes it easier to integrate other weapons.

The tests took place in an unnamed European country in the last quarter of 2021. More than 200 missiles were fired during the approximately 70-hour flight. Tests were conducted day and night, with weapons launched in level and diving flight, hovering, singly and in volleys, and at various target distances of up to 4 km.

Leonardo installed test instruments on the helicopter’s engines, airframe and weapons pylons, supporting the cameras. The testing has generated a wealth of data that validates the distance between the weapon and the platform and allows the weapon’s flight range to be extended. The data also allowed improvements to pre-launch algorithms and weapon decisions in the mission system computer.

“It was great to test the integrated mission and weapons systems that give the AW149 a true multi-role combat capability,” said Lee Evans, Leonardo Helicopters UK experimental test pilot, who flew and conducted some of the firings. “AW149 Tactical Radar and EOD [electro-optic/laser turret] allow quick and effective detection and subsequent pursuit of the target. In addition, the AW149 is ideally suited as a weapons platform as its agility allows for rapid “turn to target” maneuvers. Precise control qualities allow the pilot to quickly reach pre-launch constraints and ultimately successfully engage the target.’

The ability to fire back accurately is one of four areas considered by Leonardo to make the AW149 very viable on the battlefield. At the base level, the airframe incorporates a high degree of impact and combat damage resistance, with multiple airframe load paths, separated systems, cockpit and cockpit ballistic protection, self-sealing fuel tanks, infrared suppression, and a 50-min/100-nm “dry” capability. work” in case of complete loss of oil from the gearboxes of the main, intermediate and tail rotors.

Sophisticated computer simulations were used to analyze crash survivability at various impact angles and positions, demonstrating that the AW149 meets the most stringent requirements. Rotor blades have been demonstrated to maintain structural integrity for at least 90 minutes after being hit by a 12.7 mm (0.5 in) projectile.

The AW149 will also be equipped with a modular advanced defense system of the Leonardo platform, which combines laser, missile and radar warning receivers with various effectors, including infrared countermeasures directed by Miysis.

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2022-07-17/aw149-demonstrates-weapons-firing-capability AW149 demonstrates weapon firing capabilities

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