Thales and Schiebel validate the use of Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) to relay acoustic buoy surveillance during the NATO exercise REPMUS 2022
Thales press release
The underwater environment is becoming increasingly crowded and hostile; hence, navies must acquire more and more resources that are progressively responsive, flexible and interconnected.
Indeed, fighting under the sea requires the deployment of considerable capacities and the coordination of means can sometimes meet limits. To reduce the risk of threat saturation, Thales and Schiebel successfully tested the reinforcement of conventional underwater capabilities with a CAMCOPTER S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) during the NATO REPMUS 2022 exercise in Tróia, Portugal.
REPMUS22 was a real opportunity for the industry and the armed Forces to collaborate on the test and development of maritime unmanned systems, with 25 navies, and more than 20 research and development companies, two universities and eight NATO entities related to maritime operations and/or maritime unmanned systems.
The scenario chosen by the NATO was that of surveillance of a strategic access to a port, in order to detect and classify possible enemy submarines, using the best of innovative technologies.
To this end, Thales and Schiebel deployed a CAMCOPTER S-100 UAV equipped with a data relay box, allowing the transmission distance of data from the acoustic buoys deployed in surveillance along the coast to be optimised.
The data was successfully processed on land by the Thales Bluetracker system. The data could have also been processed on board a frigate cruising off the coast, in addition to the airborne means usually used (helicopters, maritime patrol aircraft).
The use of UAS allows navies to face new challenges with increasingly limited human resources. Fast, durable, flexible (multi-mission) and are a useful and efficient complement to an anti-submarine system.
This first participation in REPMUS 2022 for the Thales-Schiebel partnership opens perspectives on the force multiplier effect obtained through interoperable and interchangeable systems. Thanks to innovative technologies, whose basic building blocks already exist (buoys and UAVs) and soon thanks to the use of the new SonoFlash buoy developed by Thales, these unmanned systems will be able to demonstrate their usefulness in many theatres of operation.
About CAMCOPTER S-100
The Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAS requires no prepared area or supporting equipment to enable launch and recovery. It operates by day and by night, under adverse weather conditions, with a beyond line-of-sight capability out to 200 km / 108 nm, over land and sea. Its carbon fibre and titanium fuselage provides capacity for a wide range of payload/endurance combinations up to a service ceiling of 5,500 m / 18,000 ft.
In a typical configuration, the CAMCOPTER® S-100 carries a 34-kg / 75-lbs payload up to 10 hours and is powered with AVGas 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. The high-tech unmanned helicopter is backed by Schiebel’s excellent customer support and training services.