Schiebel effectively demonstrated the exceptional search and rescue as well as maritime surveillance capabilities of the CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) from 21 June to 1 July 2018 to the Belgian Navy.
Schiebel's trials for the Belgian Navy aimed at building an enhanced knowledge base and developing a successful concept of operations for the use of UAS in support of search and rescue (SAR) as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. For the demonstration flights, designed to show the suitability of the CAMCOPTER® S-100 for these capabilities, the helicopter was equipped with two payloads, the L3 Wescam MX-10 and the Overwatch Imaging PT-8 Oceanwatch, as well as an automatic identification system (AIS) receiver and a rescue drop box. The flight trials included various search and rescue scenarios in a land-based setting in Lombardsijde and in a maritime environment in the naval port of Zeebrugge.
"The trials with the S-100 have been very successful and have taught us a lot about the possibilities of such systems and sensors, the ability to operate in Belgian's confined airspace, opportunities for the domain of coastal security and prospects for further developments," said Lt. Commander D. Biermans, who is in charge of the Belgian Navy's Maritime Tactical UAS (MTUAS) Project Team. "Given the complexity of introducing a MTUAS within the Navy and its impact on the concepts of operation and tactics, this was a first informative step and will be part of a series of tests and experiments with a variety of vehicles and sensors."
The flights were the first S-100 customer demonstration with the recently integrated PT-8 Oceanwatch payload. This revolutionary wide-area maritime search capability offers a powerful naval patrol capacity and thus solves the challenge of searching for small objects over vast areas. The employed combination of two payloads proved to be an ideal solution for the tested scenarios.
"With its small footprint, exceptional capability and state-of-the-art payloads, the CAMCOPTER® S-100 is the perfect platform for maritime and land-based SAR missions," said Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group. "Our tried and tested helicopter continuously proves to be the most capable and successful vertical takeoff and landing UAS."