The Schiebel Camcopter S-100, one of which recently crashed during defence testing in NSW, is set to get an upgrade, with Schiebel and Patria partnering to enhance the drone’s capabilities.
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The two European companies are planning to integrate Patria's Compact Airborne Networking Data Link (CANDL) communication network onto the Camcopter S-100 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
The joint effort is the first step of an ongoing program of work examining how the Camcopter S-100 can be deployed to directly support manned helicopter operations.
Petria said their CANDL provides a solid backbone to explore the benefits of manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) operations, where the combined strengths of each air asset can be optimised to increase overall situational awareness and enhance decision making.
Schiebel’s chief technical officer Chris Day said, "Using the unmanned element of a MUM-T operation to provide both the forward and higher altitude view will help to keep pilots and the manned assets safe, as well as improve overall mission effectiveness."
Just last week, a Camcopter S-100 crashed at Beecroft Weapons Range east of Nowra, causing a small bushfire.
The bushfire burnt out two hectares.
The vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAV crashed while conducting flying conversion training for Royal Australian Navy (RAN) personnel on Monday, 27 March at 10am.
The multimillion-dollar UAV has since been recovered by Defence.
Defence personnel had to wait for army engineers to declare the area safe before being able to locate and remove the downed UAV.
An assessment into the cause of the incident is underway, but Schiebel and RAN would not speculate on the cause of the incident until the assessment was finalised.
The RAN awarded the contract to Schiebel for the supply of its Camcopter S-100 System and three years' follow-on Contractor Logistics Support in February this year.