The French Navy has successfully completed trials of the Camcopter S-100 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) aboard the Gowind-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV), L’Adroit, in the Mediterranean.

During the week-long trials, a major update of the UAV’s flight control software was validated by the drone detachment CEPA 10S.

In the presence of engineers from DCNS and Schiebel, as well as the French Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) representatives, the initial integration of the UAV into the combat management system of L’Adroit was also demonstrated as part of the testing.

L’Adroit captain Commander Regnier said the UAV’s optical camera and its long battery life enables crew to see beyond the horizon, while greatly increasing the patrol potential of the ship.

"L’Adroit was able to monitor an area twice as large as would have been possible without the drone."

The trials have been performed onboard the L’Adroit as part of an incremental approach to defining operational requirements while the French Navy is planning to procure multi-sensor rotary wing UAVs as part of SDAM project.

Designed to provide high-end performance coupled with robust, structural strength and a high-level of environmental resistance, the Schiebel-built S-100 autonomous vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) system can be used at sea or on land.

Commander Grozel, said: "During the surveillance mission on the borders of the European Union (FRONTEX), carried out by our B crew in September, L’Adroit was able to monitor an area twice as large as would have been possible without the drone."

The 87m-long and 1,450t L’Adroit vessel can support maritime safety and security missions, including maritime surveillance and reconnaissance, counter-piracy, fisheries surveillance and environmental protection, humanitarian aid, drug interdiction, as well as rescue and search operations.

Defence Technology