Building on a strong foundation of partnership, Schiebel Pacific has opened its new office and workshop at the Albatross Aviation Technical Park (AATP), right next door to the RAN and local partner Air Affairs Australia (AAA) in Nowra.
This new Schiebel Pacific facility at the AATP provides direct access to the airfield and other industry partners.
“We realised very quickly in the wake of Navy Minor Project 1942 (Navy’s unmanned experimentation program) that we needed to establish a true local presence,” Fabian Knechtl, Schiebel Pacific Managing Director said.
As part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed at the opening, Schiebel Pacific and AAA have agreed to collaborate on the compilation and submission of Request For Tender (RFT) responses for Remotely Piloted Aerial System (RPAS) opportunities in Australia and the Pacific region, as well as the subsequent close cooperation in contract delivery, support and services.
“Building on our current contracts, we see enormous potential in Australia for Schiebel and our unrivalled Camcopter S-100 RPAS due to several significant upcoming programs and working with established Australian companies will be key to success,” Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group, said. “A strong physical presence through Schiebel Pacific and a MoU with a strong partner are logical steps in preparing for the tremendous opportunities in Australia, a nation at the forefront of embracing robotic technology and modernizing its Defence Force.”
Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 is currently under contract for NMP 1942, with the RAN having two platforms and associated equipment under management. This evaluation program aims to develop the RAN’s understanding of the capabilities of an advanced Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) Tactical Unmanned Air System (TUAS). Schiebel Pacific is working closely with the RAN on achieving all the goals of the project, while simultaneously preparing for the upcoming tenders for Land and Sea 129. As ADM has already reported, the RAN will be the first customer to use the newer av-gas engines.
Another two platforms are in use by Army under a lease arrangement and will be testing sensor packages in the upcoming Talisman Sabre exercise. The Army testing focuses on multiple payloads, including the L3 Wescam MX-10, ELTA Systems’ ELK-7065 Compact Airborne HF COMINT/DF 3D System, Overwatch’s Multi Spectrum Imaging TK-5 and Leonardo’s PicoSAR radar.
To make sure that the Camcopter gets to Army in one piece, Schiebel Pacific and AAA have also been working with Victorian engineering SME Fordham to develop a new transport solution (pictured).
“We needed to make sure that all parts of the RPAS arrived in good order and ready to go,” Peter Krueger, Fordham’s General Manager – Defence and Aerospace said. The older wooden carry box just wasn’t cutting it, with the new solution able to be tied down on any platform with shipping container attachment points.
Schiebel Pacific and AAA have also engaged a local fibreglass company for repair work on the outer skin of the Camcopter in the wake of a cracking incident for Navy. Covering their bases, Schiebel Pacific have ordered a new tail from Austria while also repairing the existing tail in Australia.