The Brazilian Army, in collaboration with local companies Avibras Indústria Aeroespacial and Helibras, has conducted a major live-fire test campaign to qualify the Skyfire-70 70 mm unguided air-to-ground rocket system on the service's Airbus Helicopters Fennec AvEx light attack helicopter. The AvEx is currently armed with only an FN Herstal 12.7 mm gun pod.
The event, which was conducted at the Army Evaluations Centre (CAEx) in Rio de Janeiro in late November, was co-ordinated by the Army Aviation Command's (CAvEx's) Flight Test Group (GEA), following approval by the Army Aviation Material Directorate (DMAvEx).
Powered by the M9 series rocket motor, 43 70 mm rockets with active high-explosive (HE) warheads and seven 70 mm rockets with inert warheads were fired on 24 November by AvEx light attack helicopters of the 1st Army Aviation Battalion (1º BAvEx). The Skyfire-70 round weighs 11.28 kg, is 1,430 mm long, and has an effective range of 4,700 m with an engagement speed of 820 m/s.
In a parallel development, a new weapons carriage wing developed by Helibras and furnished with an Avibras AV-LM 70/19-SF multiple rocket launcher system was also approved for use with the Fennec AvEx platform. Systems including the UCAAH (Unidade de Controle do Armamento Axial Helibras) fire-selector unit and T100 cockpit visor were used during the firing session.
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