Defence has announced a three-year extension of the Royal Australian Navy’s contract to operate the Schiebel S-100 Camcopter VTUAS.
Originally brought on strength as part of the RAN’s uncapitalised Navy Minor Program (NMP)1942 effort to inform the service as it developed its requirements for the wider Project SEA 129 Phase 5 program, the S-100’s sustainment has been transferred to the Capability Acquisition & Sustainment Group (CASG) as part of the SEA 129 Phase 5 Maritime Unmanned Aircraft System Continuous Development Program.
As part of the contract extension, Nowra-based Schiebel Pacific will develop a sovereign Australian training capability for the platform and will also provide field support services and logistics elements.
“The S-100 fleet now forms part of SEA129-5’s risk mitigation, workforce growth, tactics development, and operational test and evaluation activities,” a Defence spokesman said in response to questions posed by ADBR. “The contract extension was exercised utilising SEA129 Phase 5 Integrated Investment Plan funding.”
In a separate company release, Chairman of the Schiebel Group, Hans Georg Schiebel said, “For Schiebel Pacific the contract extension secures existing Australian jobs and will create further positions for Australian UAS experts. We are immensely proud that we were able to convince with our S-100.”
The S-100 is operated alongside a brace of Insitu Pacific ScanEagle fixed-wing UAS by the RAN’s 822X SQN at Nowra, and detachments of UAS and operators are deployed as flights to surface vessels for exercises and deployments.
Schiebel Pacific has teamed with Raytheon Australia to offer the S-100 for SEA 129 Phase 5, and the teaming was shortlisted as part of the program’s Invitation to Respond (ITR) process in March 2021.