The Spanish Navy has successfully competed Saab-built Skeldar V-200 Maritime unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) integration trials on board the Buques de Acción Marítima (BAM)-class patrol vessel Relámpago (P-43) off the Canary Islands.
The UAV is due to be deployed in mid-September 2013 aboard the BAM-class patrol vessel Meteoro (P-41), which is currently operational in the Indian Ocean.
Saab has received a contract to provide services for the Skeldar V-200 system aboard a Spanish Navy offshore patrol vessel in operation Atalanta.
Following the completion of second phase of the programme, the Spanish Navy will decide which specific UAV model to procure.
The medium-range vertical take off and landing UAV can be deployed to support instant battle damage assessment and control of indirect fire, in addition to providing logistics support and ship-to-ship or ship-to-land transfers in rough weather conditions.
Powered by a two-cylinder, in-line, two-stroke, liquid cooled internal combustion engine, the unmanned system can fly at a maximum altitude of 4,500m for five hours and can cruise at a maximum speed of 130km/h with a mission radius of more than 100km.
Featuring dual payload capability and various COTS payloads for specific missions, the system is fitted with EO / IR gimbals, a laser pointer, laser range finder, synthetic aperture radar, ground-moving target indicator, electronic warfare, AIS transponder, searchlight, megaphone and cargo hook.
Armed with OtoBreda 76/62mm gun, two Mk38 25mm automatic cannons and two 12.7mm machine guns, the Navantia-developed BAM-class vessels have been designed to support missions including patrols and protection.
The vessels feature a helicopter platform, rescue equipment and medical facilities and can also conduct hydrographic research, intelligence gathering, divers support and submarine rescue operations.
Image: Skeldar V-200 aircraft stationed aboard a Spanish Navy ship. Photo: courtesy of www.armada.mde.es.