Schiebel demonstrated the Camcopter S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) this month to the Belgian Navy, with an emphasis on search and rescue as well as maritime surveillance capabilities.
The RAN has bought Camcopter as part of their own explorations of small shipborne UAS.
Schiebel’s trials for the Belgian Navy are aimed at building an enhanced knowledge base and developing a successful concept of operations for the use of UAS in support of search and rescue (SAR) as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
For the demonstration flights, designed to show the suitability of the CamcopterS-100 for these capabilities, the helicopter was equipped with two payloads, the L3 Wescam MX-10 and the Overwatch Imaging PT-8 Oceanwatch, as well as an automatic identification system (AIS) receiver and a rescue drop box.
The flight trials included various search and rescue scenarios in a land-based setting in Lombardsijde and in a maritime environment in the naval port of Zeebrugge.
The Belgium Navy trial saw operations between June 21 and July 1, 2018.
“The trials with the S-100 have been very successful and have taught us a lot about the possibilities of such systems and sensors, the ability to operate in Belgian’s confined airspace, opportunities for the domain of coastal security and prospects for further developments,” Lieutenant Commander D. Biermans, who is in charge of the Belgian Navy’s Maritime Tactical UAS (MTUAS) Project Team said.
“Given the complexity of introducing a MTUAS within the Navy and its impact on the concepts of operation and tactics, this was a first informative step and will be part of a series of tests and experiments with a variety of vehicles and sensors.”
The flights were the first S-100 customer demonstration with the recently integrated PT-8 Oceanwatch payload. This wide-area maritime search capability offers a powerful naval patrol capacity and thus solves the challenge of searching for small objects over vast areas.
Schiebel’s CamcopterS-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) is a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAS requires no prepared area or supporting equipment to enable launch and recovery.
It operates in day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a beyond line-of-sight capability out to 200 km, over land and sea. Its carbon fiber and titanium fuselage provides capacity for a wide range of payload/endurance combinations up to a service ceiling of 18,000 ft.
In a typical configuration, the CamcopterS-100 carries a 75 lbs/34 kg payload up to 10 hours and is powered with AVGas or JP-5 heavy fuel. High-definition payload imagery is transmitted to the control station in real time. In addition to its standard GPS waypoint or manual navigation, the S-100 can successfully operate in environments where GPS is not available, with missions planned and controlled via a simple point-and-click graphical user interface.