Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

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Timmymagic
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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by Timmymagic »

This is interesting...(sorry don't have full article). Extract from Flight Global.

"Leonardo Helicopters’ UK operation has begun initial design work on a clean-sheet 3t-class unmanned rotorcraft which could be flying by 2024."

Suspect this is tied into the recent RN roadmap/vision for unmanned aircraft. Leonardo has previously undertaken a lot of research work in the UK on this, both with the SW-4 Solo RWUAS and some trials with the Leonardo Hero. However, as a clean sheet 3 tonne class this is substantially bigger. For reference the SW-4 Solo MTOW was 1.8 tonnes. A 3 tonne helicopter is in the MQ-8C Firescout size. In terms of manned helicopter size an A109S Grand sized...so very substantial. 3 tonne is also a cutover point where you tend to see twin engined designs as the norm (although the MQ-8C, a Longranger derived design, makes do with 1x900hp engine). Also for reference the original MQ-8B MTOW was 1.8 tonnes. This is big...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PZL_SW-4

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_ ... Fire_Scout

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_ ... Fire_Scout - The original B variant

If you've got a subscription see below for full article:
https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopter ... 65.article

Original SW-4 Solo Concept
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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by RichardIC »

Flight Global paywall seems to be pretty useless. Every time I've copied and pasted the link into an Incognito window it's opened the full article.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by Jensy »

Timmymagic wrote:This is interesting...(sorry don't have full article). Extract from Flight Global.

"Leonardo Helicopters’ UK operation has begun initial design work on a clean-sheet 3t-class unmanned rotorcraft which could be flying by 2024."
Pure speculation... but Leonardo bought Swiss helicopter start-up Kopter (previously Marenco Swisshelicopter) and their '3t class', single engined 'SH09', now renamed the AW09, last year. https://www.leonardocompany.com/en/products/aw09

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Similarly they've stated that the SW-4 will not be developed any further, and that the AW09 and the AW119 will complement one another at the lower end of their product range.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by Timmymagic »

Jensy wrote:
Timmymagic wrote:This is interesting...(sorry don't have full article). Extract from Flight Global.

"Leonardo Helicopters’ UK operation has begun initial design work on a clean-sheet 3t-class unmanned rotorcraft which could be flying by 2024."
Pure speculation... but Leonardo bought Swiss helicopter start-up Kopter (previously Marenco Swisshelicopter) and their '3t class', single engined 'SH09', now renamed the AW09, last year. https://www.leonardocompany.com/en/products/aw09

Image

Similarly they've stated that the SW-4 will not be developed any further, and that the AW09 and the AW119 will complement one another at the lower end of their product range.
I suspect they'll use the dynamic components from one of their existing product range, but such a large helicopter could mean that the RN's vision of a RUAS that can do the the 'Find' and 'Fix' portion could also get the 'Strike' element that is lacking. At the very least such a sized helicopter could carry a couple of 5 packs of Martlet, maybe even 2 Sea Venom (though I suspect that will remain a Wildcat speciality as you need the full radar package as well to take full advantage.

If this comes off its a far better solution than Camcopters, VSR700's, Hero's or Skeldar's.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by Ron5 »

Timmymagic wrote:This is interesting...(sorry don't have full article). Extract from Flight Global.

"Leonardo Helicopters’ UK operation has begun initial design work on a clean-sheet 3t-class unmanned rotorcraft which could be flying by 2024."

Suspect this is tied into the recent RN roadmap/vision for unmanned aircraft. Leonardo has previously undertaken a lot of research work in the UK on this, both with the SW-4 Solo RWUAS and some trials with the Leonardo Hero. However, as a clean sheet 3 tonne class this is substantially bigger. For reference the SW-4 Solo MTOW was 1.8 tonnes. A 3 tonne helicopter is in the MQ-8C Firescout size. In terms of manned helicopter size an A109S Grand sized...so very substantial. 3 tonne is also a cutover point where you tend to see twin engined designs as the norm (although the MQ-8C, a Longranger derived design, makes do with 1x900hp engine). Also for reference the original MQ-8B MTOW was 1.8 tonnes. This is big...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PZL_SW-4

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_ ... Fire_Scout

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_ ... Fire_Scout - The original B variant

If you've got a subscription see below for full article:
https://www.flightglobal.com/helicopter ... 65.article

Original SW-4 Solo Concept
Image
Full article ...
Leonardo Helicopters plans new unmanned demonstrator in UK

By Dominic Perry31 May 2021

Leonardo Helicopters’ UK operation has begun initial design work on a clean-sheet 3t-class unmanned rotorcraft which could be flying by 2024.

The manufacturer is looking to build on work carried out for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) last decade under phases one and two of the Rotary Wing Unmanned Air System (RWUAS) Capability Concept Demonstrator programme.

Previous phases used optionally piloted SW-4 Solo

Centred on maritime operations, the previous efforts used an optionally piloted SW-4 Solo helicopter – based on PZL Swidnik’s manned SW-4.

Sarah Cook, vice-president of operations at Leonardo Helicopters UK, speaking to media on 28 May at the airframer’s Yeovil, UK facility, said that the earlier work has enabled the company to narrow its options for the new helicopter.

“We have now got to a point where we have said we think we have a design solution from an aircraft perspective that we would like to move forward with.

“It gives us a very flexible solution with a modular design.”

Cook says as currently envisaged, the demonstrator will look like “a conventional aircraft”, but will not face the constraints inherent in converting a manned platform. Maximum take-off weight will be in the 2.8-3t range, with a 10-12h endurance. First flight is likely to be in the 2024-2025 timeframe.

At present, the work is self-funded, but the company is hopeful that the MoD will also back the project.

“It is something that we are very keen to follow up on so we are continuing to invest our own money.”

Although the previous phases of the MoD’s RWUAS programme focused on the maritime ‘find and fix’ role “we can see boader potential for that aircraft”, she says, citing missions such as last-mile logistics.

Cook says that the demonstrator should not be seen as the final design for such an aircraft. In addition to any possible changes to the configuration, Leonardo Helicopters is continuing to investigate the potential for hybrid or electric propulsion on the aircraft. It has applied for funding from the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute for related projects, says Cook.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by Timmymagic »

Hopefully if they're designing from scratch they'll make it as 'marine friendly' as possible. A folding boom, powered folding rotors, wheeled undercarriage etc. could all make shipborne operations a whole lot easier.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Timmymagic wrote: such a sized helicopter could carry a couple of 5 packs of Martlet, maybe even 2 Sea Venom (though I suspect that will remain a Wildcat speciality as you need the full radar package as well to take full advantage.
Yes, against ships, but against land targets (command bunkers, radar units, missile launchers...) the location of which can be established, just aim point selection using the two-way data link for positive target identification and ‘man in the loop’ retargeting/ aim point correction if needed can come in quite handy... before closing in for some NGFS.
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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by RunningStrong »

Leonardo pushing the AW149 for the medium lift contract.


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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by J. Tattersall »

RunningStrong wrote:Leonardo pushing the AW149 for the medium lift contract.
Reading the likes of Flight Global etc. the two aircraft mentioned most seem to be Leonardo's AW149 and Airbus's H175, both companies emphasise that they wouldn't be reliant on China in their supply chain. Little mention of the Cougar/Caracal, UH-60 or the NH90. However I can't find news of any requirements or technical specification being released yet, and that obviously has the potential to cause potential bidders to rethink their offering when it comes out. E.g. why not offer the AW139 just entering service with the USAF if a slightly smaller aircraft would still meet the requirement etc.?

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by SW1 »

If your looking at it as a Puma replacement then the aw149 is the better fit from payload range point of view than an aw139. Also leonardo doesn’t want another aw139 final assembly line.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by J. Tattersall »

SW1 wrote:If your looking at it as a Puma replacement then the aw149 is the better fit from payload range point of view than an aw139. Also leonardo doesn’t want another aw139 final assembly line.
You might be right however my point is that we don't know what the requirement is going to be. Will it be nearer a Bell 412, a Dauphin or a Puma replacement, or something quite distinct? Now might be that MOD's already briefed all likely suppliers, and what we're seeing now is a well informed anticipation of UK military needs. However it will be interesting to see what MOD requirements eventually turn out to be and the £ and performance delta needed to turn civilian originated helicopter designs into military platforms as opposed to straight military designed aircraft.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by SW1 »

J. Tattersall wrote:
SW1 wrote:If your looking at it as a Puma replacement then the aw149 is the better fit from payload range point of view than an aw139. Also leonardo doesn’t want another aw139 final assembly line.
You might be right however my point is that we don't know what the requirement is going to be. Will it be nearer a Bell 412, a Dauphin or a Puma replacement, or something quite distinct? Now might be that MOD's already briefed all likely suppliers, and what we're seeing now is a well informed anticipation of UK military needs. However it will be interesting to see what MOD requirements eventually turn out to be and the £ and performance delta needed to turn civilian originated helicopter designs into military platforms as opposed to straight military designed aircraft.

Leonardo will tell you aw149 has been design from the ground up as a military helicopter, that was then modified into the aw189 for the civil market. It’s why there offering it rather than the aw139m. It’s if you believe it or not. Moving small team and operations in urban or confined areas is going to increase going fwd so it will be interesting suspect we’ll hear a lot dsei

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by Ron5 »

Plenty of choices but the primary thing that should really matter is that they're mostly made and sourced in and from the UK.

And by a company that's done it before instead of some green site foil flippers.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

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J. Tattersall wrote:
SW1 wrote:If your looking at it as a Puma replacement then the aw149 is the better fit from payload range point of view than an aw139. Also leonardo doesn’t want another aw139 final assembly line.
You might be right however my point is that we don't know what the requirement is going to be. Will it be nearer a Bell 412, a Dauphin or a Puma replacement, or something quite distinct? Now might be that MOD's already briefed all likely suppliers, and what we're seeing now is a well informed anticipation of UK military needs. However it will be interesting to see what MOD requirements eventually turn out to be and the £ and performance delta needed to turn civilian originated helicopter designs into military platforms as opposed to straight military designed aircraft.
The point is that it's designed to fill all those airframe requirements, and having an aircraft that could easily pass for civvy with the right paint job and kit only supports that.

I think it's a good option, and one that will be hard to beat for UK made elements.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by Ron5 »

RunningStrong wrote:.. and having an aircraft that could easily pass for civvy with the right paint job and kit only supports that.
Srsly? You think this is an important requirement for a Puma replacement?

"Hey comrade, vot is da civvie helo (invented by our great patriotic motherland) doing flying over da battlefield?"

"Dear comrade, do not shoot, it might be carrying the Queen!!"

"You mean Elton John??"

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by J. Tattersall »

Ron5 wrote:
RunningStrong wrote:.. and having an aircraft that could easily pass for civvy with the right paint job and kit only supports that.
Srsly? You think this is an important requirement for a Puma replacement?

"Hey comrade, vot is da civvie helo (invented by our great patriotic motherland) doing flying over da battlefield?"

"Dear comrade, do not shoot, it might be carrying the Queen!!"

"You mean Elton John??"
Practising your acceptance speech for the Tactical Appreciation of Plankton Award by any chance?

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by Lord Jim »

Mind you many of the platforms that will be under consideration fall into that category. But there are also S-70s out there flying in civilian colours, with maybe the NH-90 the odd one out.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by RunningStrong »

Ron5 wrote:
RunningStrong wrote:.. and having an aircraft that could easily pass for civvy with the right paint job and kit only supports that.
Srsly? You think this is an important requirement for a Puma replacement?

"Hey comrade, vot is da civvie helo (invented by our great patriotic motherland) doing flying over da battlefield?"

"Dear comrade, do not shoot, it might be carrying the Queen!!"

"You mean Elton John??"
Oh dear, you're looking like a prat again.

The future Medium Lift Helicopter is intended to replace four existing types in UK use. Puma, Dauphin (hint hint), AW109 (probably get a union flag paint job), and Bell 212.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by RunningStrong »

Lord Jim wrote:Mind you many of the platforms that will be under consideration fall into that category. But there are also S-70s out there flying in civilian colours, with maybe the NH-90 the odd one out.
And there's Puma's working the North Sea rigs, but in my opinion only, they wouldn't pass for your standard VVIP/news helicopter in an urban environment.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by Ron5 »

I 1000% guarantee that the ability to repaint the helo in civilian colors will not be a selection criteria. Jeesh.

PS Null point for you folks sense of humor :D

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by RunningStrong »

Ron5 wrote:I 1000% guarantee that the ability to repaint the helo in civilian colors will not be a selection criteria. Jeesh.

PS Null point for you folks sense of humor :D
Why do you think 658 Sqn operate the Dauphin? A bit of continental sophistication?

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by Ron5 »

From Flight ..
Leonardo sees potential for ‘500-plus’ AW149 export orders if picked by UK
By Dominic Perry2 September 2021

Leonardo Helicopters believes it could sell over 500 examples of the AW149 to export customers if the super-medium-twin is selected by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for its New Medium Helicopter (NMH) requirement.

“If the UK MoD were to select the AW149 the export opportunities on the back of that are huge,” Nick Whitney, managing director of Leonardo Helicopters UK, told journalists at a pre-DSEI event on 1 September.

AW149 demonstrator will be present at DSEI

Whitney says that Leonardo Helicopters “conservatively” forecasts a market for “500-plus” AW149s “in the next decade” on the back of selection by the UK, an operator he describes as a “reference customer”. However, government analysis of the company’s figures suggest the actual total could be higher still, he adds.

To date, the AW149 has secured just two customers: Egypt, which is taking 24 examples, and Thailand, with five.

AW149s for the UK and the majority of export customers would be built at the company’s Yeovil facility in southwest England. However, a separate production line would remain at Leonardo Helicopters’ plant in Vergiate, Italy, to service select contracts.

In March as part of its Integrated Review, the MoD announced its plan to retire the Royal Air Force’s fleet of 23 Puma HC2s by mid-decade and replace them, plus three other rotorcraft types, with the NMH.

However, despite the tight deadline, industry remains in the dark as to the precise requirements for the new helicopter.

At present, Leonardo Helicopters is putting its effort behind the AW149, while Airbus Helicopters is likely to pitch a military version of its H175, and Sikorsky could offer the UH-60M or S-70i variants of its Black Hawk. But should a larger aircraft be required, then the H225M and NH Industries NH90 could also be contenders.

While acknowledging the H175M and Black Hawk as “credible competitors”, Whitney describes the latter as “older technology” which would be “more costly to run and maintain”.

If an accelerated timeline is needed, then AW149 deliveries could begin in as little as 18 months after contract signature, “or even less, depending on the requirement”, Whitney says.

Leonardo Helicopters will have its AW149 demonstrator aircraft on display at DSEI.

Separately, the multi aperture infrared (MAIR) threat warning system produced by Leonardo’s electronics division has now entered series production. MAIR will be baseline equipment on the Italian army’s AW169M-derived Light Utility Helicopter.

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

Post by Timmymagic »

Well this is a little unexpected....

With NH-90's well known issues the market has certainly opened up, but I'd assumed MH-60 would clear up in that regard and in the Far East.
Genuinely no idea who these are coming from...

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Re: Leonardo (Agusta-Westland)

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