Leonardo has unveiled a concept model of the Proteus rotary-wing unmanned aerial system it is developing for the U.K. Ministry of Defence under a $74 million contract awarded in July 2022.
The drone, displayed at the recently concluded DSEI 2023 trade show, will still be improved, with Leonardo and the MOD’s procurement arm Defence Equipment & Support identifying and assessing systems that could be integrated into the Proteus platform.
According to a Janes report, the company plans to develop an RWUAS digital twin and use additive manufacturing techniques. In London at DSEI last week, Martyn Ashford, head of future programs at Leonardo Helicopters UK, told Janes that his company conducts “monthly sprints” and system concept reviews every three months to assess its progress in the drone’s development.
Once the aircraft’s design is finalized, Leonardo will build an RWUAS to demonstrate its vertical takeoff and landing performance and other capabilities by the middle of the current decade, Breaking Defense reported.
Adam Clarke, managing director of Leonardo Helicopters UK, said the UAS demonstrator would be equipped with flexible mission systems and mission modules to support varying operational needs of frontline commands taking on anti-submarine warfare, airborne early warning and other missions.