The Australian Army conducted a two-week activity with the Schiebel S-100 Camcopter system to gain further insights into future capabilities and payloads in support of LAND 129 Phase 3.
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The Army testing focused on the ELTA Systems’ state-of-the-art ELK-7065 Compact Airborne HF COMINT/DF 3D System during the first week, followed by Overwatch Imaging’s TK-5 Firewatch during the second week of the exercise.
The multipayload capable S-100, a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS offers a proven platform for military and civilian applications on land and at sea. It operates day and night, under adverse weather conditions and with a beyond line-of-sight capability of up to 200 kilometres.
Chris Day, chief technical officer for Schiebel, said, "The ELK-7065, integrated on the Camcopter S-100 UAS, offers the essential capability of delivering time-critical intelligence in the most complex operational environments. This is increasingly important for military, para-military and civilian applications."
The combination of the Camcopter S-100 and the ELK-7065 offers a flexible high-frequency (HF) communications intelligence (COMINT) capability that provides rapid spectrum exploration, analysis and detection of advanced HF communication signals in real time and with off-line analysis tools. Furthermore, it is suitable to operate in harsh electromagnetic environments.
Director General of Aviation for the Australian Army, Brigadier John Fenwick, commented on the capability demonstration: "The lease of the Camcopter S-100 and its advanced payloads is an important activity supporting Army’s understanding of UAS capabilities. We will continue to explore all options to keep the Australian Army at the forefront of new technologies."
Overwatch Imaging’s TK-5 Firewatch payload, which was tested during the second week of the exercise, bridges the gap between small drone mapping cameras and satellite mapping systems. The wide-area multi-band land mapping with automatic small object detection enables regional-scale applications in real time with optimal resolution.
It includes colour, near infrared (NIR) and temperature-calibrated thermal long-wave infrared (LWIR) sensors that operate at the same time, including simultaneous on-board image processing. Integrated on the Camcopter S-100, it becomes an extremely powerful asset for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
In a typical configuration, the Camcopter S-100 carries a 34-kilogram payload up to 10 hours and is powered with aircraft fuel or JP-5 heavy fuel. High-definition payload imagery is transmitted to the control station in real time. In addition to its standard GPS waypoint or manual navigation, the S-100 can successfully operate in environments where GPS is not available, with missions planned and controlled via a simple point-and-click graphical user interface.
Founded in 1951, the Vienna-based Schiebel Group focuses on the development, testing and production of state-of-the-art mine detection equipment and the Camcopter S-100 UAS.