Royal Australian Navy Schiebel S-100 Camcopters acquired under Navy Minor Project (NMP) 1942 Maritime Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System – Interim Capability (MTUASIC) have successfully demonstrated their ability to operate using a heavy fuel engine.
The integration of the heavy fuel engine was the final hurdle before the commencement of shipboard trials of the interim capability. The S-100 can now share the same fuel as used by ship gas turbine engines, rather than having to use separate and more volatile aviation gasoline (avgas) bunkerage.
“The heavy fuel variant of the S-100 has performed very well during the validation and verification program and the RAN looks forward to utilising this platform to achieve NMP1942 project objectives over the coming years,” RAN Contract Manager Kevin Beare said in a statement.
Chairman of the Schiebel Group, Hans Georg Schiebel added, “The S-100 will prove to be an effective asset in enhancing the Navy’s ISR capabilities. We are excited about the positive feedback we are receiving from RAN and are looking forward to continued cooperation in the future.”
The heavy fuel engine powered air vehicles will replace avgas powered machines which were on loan from Schiebel, two of which have crashed since entering service.
NMP 1942 will go towards informing the RAN as to what direction the more comprehensive Project SEA 129 Phase 5 Stage 1 and 2 UAS programs – which seeks to acquire a system or systems to be operated from SEA 5000 future frigates and other vessels – will take.