The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has selected the Schiebel S-100 Camcopter rotary-winged unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to fulfil its interim vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) requirement.
The RAN has awarded Schiebel a contract to provide an undisclosed number of Camcopter systems plus three-years support, the company announced on 6 February, adding that the deal had actually been signed in December 2016.
Selection of the Camcopter comes a year after the RAN issued a request for tender (RfT) for its Maritime Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System - Interim Capability (MTUASD - IC) requirement. Under this directive, the navy said it was looking for a platform to perform shipborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), taking in 400 nautical square miles per hour for four hours at a range of 60 n miles from the parent ship. The platform should be able to do this while concurrently carrying two payload types; such as electronic support measures and radar, or an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor and radar.
Besides Schiebel and its Camcopter, the RAN requirement is understood to have drawn interest from Saab with its Skeldar, and from Northrop Grumman with the MQ-8C Fire Scout.
With a maximum take-off weight of 200 kg and a typical payload of 50 kg, the Camcopter has an endurance of up to six hours and a range of 180 km.
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