Schiebel has successfully conducted flight trials with the Camcopter S-100 unmanned air system (UAS) in order to demonstrate its capabilities for the Belgian Navy.

The company demonstrated the effectiveness of the unmanned system’s search and rescue (SAR), and maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities during the trial programme.

Belgian Navy Maritime Tactical UAS (MTUAS) Project Team in-charge lieutenant commander D Biermans said: “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.”

"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."

The Austrian company equipped the aircraft with two payloads, namely the L3 Wescam MX-10 and the Overwatch Imaging PT-8 Oceanwatch, in addition to an automatic identification system (AIS) receiver and a rescue drop box in order to carry out the demonstration flights.

The trial period saw the helicopter perform several operations in different search and rescue scenarios in a land-based setting in Lombardsijde, Belgium, as well as in a maritime environment in the naval port of Zeebrugge.

Schiebel Group chairman Hans Georg Schiebel said: “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.

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“Our tried and tested helicopter continuously proves to be the most capable and successful vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS.”

The wide-area maritime search capability demonstrated by the UAS is expected to provide the Belgian Navy with the naval patrol capacity required to address challenges related to searching for small objects over vast areas.

Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 is a VTOL UAS that requires no prepared area or supporting equipment to conduct launch and recovery.

The unmanned helicopter features a beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) capability of up to 200km and is capable of operating both day and night under adverse weather conditions over land and sea.