A recent announcement that the PT-8 Oceanwatch image-based wide area maritime search system has been integrated with the Schiebel Camcopter S-100 vertical take-off and landing UAS, prompted me to take another look at this system. (Manufacturer’s brochure here.)
There have been numerous improvement since the introduction of the S-100 over a decade ago. It has been integrated with more sensors including a synthetic aperture radar. A heavy fuel engine compatible with JP-5, Jet A-1 or JP-8 jet fuels is now optional, as a replacement for the original gasoline engine. Using an auxiliary fuel tank it now possible to extend its normal six hour endurance to up to 10 hours.
This Oceanwatch PT-8 sounds a lot like a “ViDAR” (Visual Detection and Ranging) that has been tested by the Coast Guard.
The S-100 is very widely used. Operators or those who are buying the system include the German Navy, the French Navy, the Italian Navy, the Australian Navy, and the Chinese Navy. The Russian Coast Guard uses a license built version.
They have been testing sense and avoid capability.
The S-100 at 440 pounds max take-off is about nine times greater than that of the 48.5 pound ScanEagle, but less than a seventh that of the MQ-8B Fire Scout (3,150 lb). It doesn’t have the endurance of the ScanEagle, but with a ten times larger payload (75 lb vice 7.5 lb), given better sensors, it may be able to search a larger area per sortie. With a higher speed (120 knots max vice 80) it can get to a probability area and search it faster.
Croatia buys the S-100. https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2019/07/croatia-to-deploy-camcopter-s-100-uas-for-maritime-surveillance-missions/
Thai Navy contract for the S-100.
Being widely used by the European Maritime Safety Agency. http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2020/july/8691-finnish-border-guard-will-operate-the-schiebel-camcopter-s-100-for-maritime-surveillance.html
New “heavy fuel” engine for the S-100. https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2020/03/schiebel-completes-heavy-fuel-acceptance-tests-for-royal-australian-navy/
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Being used in Romania and Bulgaria. https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2021/04/romanian-border-police-operating-camcopter-s-100-rpas-for-maritime-surveillance/
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U.S. Navy completes trials of Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 UAS
Demonstration for Norwegian CG of capability to operate in the Arctic.
“One new capability showcased by Schiebel Pacific at INDO PACIFIC 2022 was the ability to perform vertical replenishment (VERTREP) using the S-100. According to the company, the S-100 can carry underslung payloads as large as 50kg from ropes as long as 30 metres, or smaller payloads in conformal storage bays. This new capability, which has not been previously demonstrated, is intended to help flush out the S-100s suite of capabilities and make it a truly multi-role asset.” https://www.navalnews.com/event-news/indo-pacific-2022/2022/05/advanced-new-capabilities-demonstrated-for-the-s-100-drone/
Another S-100 user https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2022/05/schiebel-camcopter-s-100-performs-maritime-survellience-for-royal-danish-navy/
“Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100, given to Romania by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), has begun its maritime surveillance mission in support of the Romanian Border Police.” https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2022/05/schiebel-camcopter-s-100-performs-maritime-survellience-in-romania/
In view of the proximity of the War in Ukraine, this might be particularly useful.
Camcopter S-100 Improves Maritime Surveillance Capacity Of Icelandic Coast Guard
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Schiebel And Thales Awarded Royal Navy Contract From UK MoD