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Air Platforms

Pacific 2017: Australia deploys S-100 rotary-winged UAS in evaluation roles

03 October 2017
The RAN will deploy the Schiebel S-100 Camcopter in evaluation roles. Source: Schiebel

Key Points

  • The Royal Australian Navy will deploy its Schiebel S-100 Camcopters for trials and evaluations within a test unit
  • The system will fill the service’s knowledge gap between fixed-wing and rotary-winged UAVs

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) will deploy its fleet of two Schiebel S-100 Camcopter rotary-winged unmanned aircraft system (UAS) with the service’s Navy UAS Unit as evaluation platforms.

Jane’ s first reported in February 2017 that the RAN has selected the system to fulfil its interim vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS requirement. A contract for the acquisition, which Jane’s has since learned to consist of two Camcopter units with three-years of technical support, was signed in December 2016.

An official from the Navy UAS Unit who spoke to Jane’s at the Pacific 2017 exhibition in Sydney has since confirmed that the units, which are currently scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2017, will not be deployed in operational roles.

“The units are intended to fill our knowledge gap between fixed-wing and rotary-winged unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs]”, said Lieutenant Commander Ben Crowther, officer in charge of the Navy UAS Unit. “With the knowledge attained from the evaluation units, we will be an informed customer when we acquire similar UAVs in the future,” he added.

Among concepts that the S-100 units will evaluate for the RAN include different mission sets, payloads deliverable, and ship operating limits. The Navy UAS Unit, which is based within the RAN’s Headquarters Fleet Air Arm at HMAS Albatross, will also make recommendations on where best to situate UAS control consoles within a platform, based on results from the evaluations, added Lt Cdr Crowther. The S-100 units will be equipped with the MX-10 multi-sensor, multi-spectral imaging system from L3 Wescam.

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