After being chosen for test trials by the Border and Coast Guard Division of the Finnish Border Guard, Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Air System (UAS) performed a five-day maritime surveillance demonstration aboard Finnish Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Turva.
The Schiebel Camcopter is involved in trials under Navy Minor Project (NMP) 1942, which seeks to imbue the RAN with interim shipborne UAS competencies as a precursor to Sea 129 Phase 5.
Phase 5 was originally divided into two stages – Stage 1 for a UAS to be deployed on the 12 OPVs from 2021 onwards, and Stage 2 for a second UAS type to equip the nine Hunter-class frigates, the first which will enter service in the late 2020s. The two have now been rolled together, with the S-100 in competition.
The intense flight trials took place at the end of August in the Gulf of Finland. Day and night, the S-100 completed given scenarios including searching, locating and recognizing objects as well as surveillance for maximum situational awareness. In addition to top Finnish Border Guard officials, representatives of the Finnish Defence Forces, Finnish Customs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, as well as Finnish Meteorological Institute, among others, attended the event.
To comply with its assigned tasks, the S-100 was equipped with an L3Harris Wescam MX-10 Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) camera, the Overwatch Imaging PT-8 Oceanwatch wide-area maritime surveillance payload and an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver.
“As we have seen during the trials, maritime ISR and search operations can derive significant benefits from the use of UAS,” said Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group. “We are very pleased with the outcome of the trials and hope to be back in Finland soon.”