Tuesday, August 24, 2010

France Completes Tests of Campcopter S-100

The Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (DGA) procurement office has completed tests of the Camcopter S-100 vertical take off and landing (VTOL) unmanned air vehicle for the French Army and Navy, ending with a series of maritime scenarios, Austrian company Schiebel said Aug. 24.

"The aim of the final series of trials on the French Levant island was to demonstrate the suitability and versatility of a VTOL UAV in the maritime domain from a coastal setting," Schiebel said in a statement.

The last set of trials included observation of simulated attacks against ships by pirates in small boats, drug smuggling operations, and surveillance and tracking of shipping at a distance, the company said.

The air vehicle flew over 20 flight hours for four days in the hot and dry weather conditions found on the Levant island on the Mediterranean coast off the south of France.

The marine tests completed a program of trials conducted for the French Army and Navy which began in March under a 1 million euro lease contract signed by the DGA.

DGA personnel operated the S-100 under a lease contract, flying more than 50 missions, day and night, for a total 150 flight hours.

The Army's STAT technical department looked to the S-100 tests to draft requirements for a new tactical UAV. The air vehicle flew at the Army's Sissonne urban warfare facility, east of France, and the Canjuers training site in the south.

The maritime tests were part of the Navy's requirement for a tactical UAV program dubbed Système de Drone Aérien de la Marine (SDAM).

The main payload for the trials consisted of the Thales Agile 2 electro-optical and infrared sensor.

Schiebel has teamed with Thales Optronique and Aerospace divisions and military shipbuilder DCNS to respond to a request for information from the DGA for a planned procurement in 2011 of a VTOL UAV for the French Navy's Lafayette frigate.

Schiebel has a separate teaming deal with Boeing to penetrate the U.S. military market. The Austrian company has sold 40 of the S-100, dubbed as the Al-Saber UAV, to the United Arab Emirates, with options for a further 40.

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