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Leonardo-Finmeccanica has begun the test campaign of its remotely piloted helicopter SW-4 ‘Solo’.

Leonardo is an Italian multinational aerospace, defence and security company, headquartered in Rome, Italy and with operations worldwide. It is considered as the ninth-largest defence contractor in the world.

The campaign comes at the heels of the aircraft’s first successful flight in order to verify its operational characteristics and validate flight procedures, in both normal and emergency conditions.

The ‘Solo’ is equipped with advanced systems and sensors also made by the company in Italy and the UK, and is designed to operate with or without a pilot on board. It recently returned from a successful demonstration campaign in the UK and is displayed as an innovative solution for activities such as hydrological and critical infrastructure monitoring, firefighting, search and rescue, patrol, and disaster relief activities.

Mauro Moretti, CEO and General Manager at Leonardo-Finmeccanica was quoted on the subject at defenseworld.com: “The SW-4 ‘Solo’ is testimony of Leonardo’s industrial commitment and innovation in unmanned aircraft, a sector of increased global competition and is part of a portfolio of solutions making Leonardo the only European company able to provide a complete ‘unmanned’ system. When presented with an advancement of technology, the winning regions are those who can adapt to market needs”.

The campaign is part of a collaboration started in 2015 between Leonardo, Aeroporti di Puglia (AdP) and the Distretto Tecnologico Aerospaziale Pugliese (DTA) for the “Grottaglie Test Bed,” which is a candidate to become the Italian solution to the national and European industry demand for the testing of unmanned aircraft.

The flight campaign, carried out in collaboration with the Italian Civil Aviation Authority, will continue during the first few months of 2017. The validation of procedures and regulations for the use of unmanned aircraft are among its key objectives.