The UK defense ministry has awarded a contract to Austrian firm Schiebel to deliver a rotary-wing uncrewed aerial system (UAS) to the Royal Navy.
The agreement is part of the country’s Peregrine program to field a “game-changing” drone that provides a protective “eye in the sky” capability to Royal Navy warships.
The company says it will deliver its S-100 Camcopter UAS equipped with a cutting-edge naval surveillance sensor suite for improved situational awareness.
French technology firm Thales is part of the contract and will focus on system integration to bring “high level” intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to the drone chopper.
“We are immensely proud that the Camcopter S-100 is the UK Ministry of Defence’s choice for its prestigious Peregrine program,” Schiebel chairman Hans Georg Schiebel said.
“The S-100 is the optimal UAS for a growing number of navies worldwide and has proven its superiority and outstanding capabilities throughout its numerous operational deployments.”
Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 can perform vertical takeoff and landing and operate day and night in adverse weather conditions.
The drone has a rapid launch ability, superior mission endurance, and high-performance sensors to find, track, and identify targets.
It is fitted with Thales’ I-Master radar, an electro-optical/infrared camera, and an automatic identification system to augment its ability to detect unknown targets.
The camera can produce high-definition imagery transmitted in real-time to give crew time to make operational decisions.
Schiebel highlighted the importance of sophisticated UAS when navies find themselves “increasingly threatened” by a wide range of hostile platforms.
Launching quickly and providing long-range mission endurance is crucial in congested maritime environments.
“This is a significant milestone for the Royal Navy as it is an immediate enhancement to its operational capability, but it also supports their strategic transition to uncrewed technology,” Thales CEO Alex Cresswell said.