One new capability showcased by Schiebel Pacific at INDO PACIFIC 2022 was the ability to perform vertical replenishment (VERTREP) using the S-100. According to the company, the S-100 can carry underslung payloads as large as 50kg from ropes as long as 30 metres, or smaller payloads in conformal storage bays. This new capability, which has not been previously displayed in Australia, is intended to help flush out the S-100s suite of capabilities and make it a truly multi-role asset.
A variant of the same conformal cargo bay can also be used to carry and deploy an unspecified number of sonobuoys. This will provide the S-100 with a limited anti-submarine warfare capability, albeit only in detection, prosecuting targets will remain the domain of manned assets for the foreseeable future.
A potential use case for the capability is aboard the Australian Navy’s Anzac class frigates, where sonobuoy armed S-100s could complement MH-60R helicopters by expanding on their operational reach, helping them to discriminate targets faster. S-100s without sonobouys have already flown alongside MH-60Rs aboard HMAS Ballarat, providing additional ISR capability during exercise Malabar 2021.