Schiebel S-100 UAV selected for Australian navy requirement

by Julian Kerr

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has selected Schiebel's Camcopter S-100 rotary-wing UAV for Block One of its Sea 129 Phase 5 project. The RAN has already operated the S-100 (pictured) since 2018. (Schiebel )

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has selected Schiebel's S-100 Camcopter for an initial phase of the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) programme to acquire a maritime unmanned aircraft system (MUAS), a ministerial spokesperson confirmed to Janes on 3 May.

The S-100 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will now proceed through a single-source procurement process for the first block of the AUD1.3 billion (USD960 million) three-block MUAS programme under Project Sea 129 Phase 5.

The number of S-100s under consideration for the first block has not been disclosed, although an unconfirmed media report referred to an initial procurement of 40.

Proposed by Raytheon Australia and its partner Schiebel Pacific, the S-100 was chosen without an open tender from five shortlisted contenders for single-source consideration in a move that would advance initial operating capability (IOC) by 18 months, the ministerial spokesperson said.

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Japan becomes observer on Eurodrone project

by Gareth Jennings

A mock-up of the Eurodrone displayed at the Paris Air Show 2023. Japan has now joined the programme as an observer. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Japan has attained official observer status on the Eurodrone project, the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) announced on 30 November.

The letter of approval was presented in Berlin by OCCAR Executive Administration Director Joachim Sucker to the Japanese Ambassador to Germany, Hidenao Yanagi.

Also known as the European medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) remotely piloted air system (RPAS), the Eurodrone was officially launched in February 2022 by Germany, along with France, Italy, and Spain.

Mock-ups presented at several European air shows show the twin-engined Eurodrone to be slightly larger than the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9A Reaper. Although intended primarily as an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) vehicle (including signals intelligence), there will be an option for it to be armed (the MBDA Akeron LP air-to-surface missile was recently selected as one weapon type for the platform).

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South Korea launches first military spy satellite

by Oishee Majumdar

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket (pictured) launched South Korea's first military reconnaissance satellite on 1 December. The satellite is expected to strengthen the RoK Armed Forces' early warning capabilities against potential North Korean threats. (SpaceX)

South Korea has launched its first military reconnaissance satellite using SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the reconnaissance satellite was launched from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on 1 December, South Korea's Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on 2 December.

The satellite separated from the Falcon 9 after about 14 minutes of the launch, and made its first communication with an “overseas” ground control station after about 78 minutes, confirming that it had been placed in orbit in “good condition”, the MND said.

Once the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces complete in-orbit testing, the satellite will start conducting surveillance and reconnaissance operations, the MND added.

The reconnaissance satellite has been developed and launched as part of a programme called Project 425, which aims to launch four more reconnaissance satellites by 2025. The MND contracted SpaceX in April 2022 to launch these satellites.

According to Janes

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Anduril unveils Roadrunner VTOL and C-UAS

by Zach Rosenberg

Anduril's Roadrunner-M C-UAS vehicle. (Anduril)

Anduril unveiled a reusable, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air vehicle on 1 December. The twin turbojet-powered vehicle, dubbed Roadrunner, can be fitted with modular payloads, while the Roadrunner-M (Munition) is intended as a counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS).

The company said in a statement that the Roadrunner is capable of “high subsonic speeds and extreme maneuverability”, though specifications were not immediately available.

The Roadrunner can be launched from a dedicated container, which Anduril described as a “networked, automated hangar”, and comes equipped with three extendable landing legs such that it can be recovered should it not be expended during a mission.

“This … shift in thinking allows for large-scale defensive launches at … low cost, increasing redundancy for higher probability of lethality and enhancing the ability to simultaneously engage many targets,” said the company.

The craft can be networked, such that a single operator could control multiple Roadrunners.

Anduril had not responded to questions at the time of publication.

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The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has selected Schiebel's S-100 Camcopter for an initial ph...

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