Expect to see more S-100 Camcopters taking to the skies following the announcement that Boeing and Austrian company Schiebel Industries (the S-100’s manufacturer) have joined forces to market and support the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The S-100 is an remote-controlled helicopter that can carry a wide variety of payloads, including a stabilized video system for surveillance and reconnaissance, and is well-suited to military and civilian applications.
"This teaming agreement allows us to offer another quality unmanned airborne platform to customers who depend on the intelligence these aircraft can provide," said Vic Sweberg, director of Boeing Unmanned Airborne Systems (UAS). "It will further enable our new division to deliver innovative solutions tailored to our customers' needs and budgets."
Being a helicopter, the S-100 uses vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and can be programmed to fly autonomous missions via a point-and-click computer software interface, or be directed manually with a joystick. Its data link range extends up to 200km (130 miles), with a service ceiling of (5500m) 18,000 feet, meaning it can operate beyond line-of-sight on land and at sea, and under adverse weather conditions.
The S-100 debuted at the International Defence Expo in 2005 as a medium-range, medium-endurance VTOL UAV.designed to provide a unique balance between advanced capabilities and operation in tactical environments.
Camcopter S-100 has been designed to carry various payloads up to 50kg (110lbs). In standard configuration the S-100 can carry 25kg (55lb) for up to six hours and travel at an impressive 100 knots.
Fixed-mounted daylight and/or infrared cameras provide the operator with situational awareness and orientation.
The S-100 fuselage is a carbon-fiber monocoque, which gives a superior strength/weight ratio, and it retains the capability of autonomous flight from the earlier Camcopter 5.1.
In both autonomous and manual modes, the aerial vehicle is automatically stabilized via redundant Inertial Navigation Systems (INS). Navigation is via redundant GPS receivers and the whole system is designed to minimize the need for operator training.
The helicopter has specifications that rival some fixed-wing platforms without the need for a runway or launch and recovery equipment.
"We are excited about teaming with Boeing's newly-created Unmanned Airborne Systems division," said Hans G. Schiebel, director of Schiebel Industries AG. "Through this collaboration, we hope to leverage Boeing's depth of experience and proven contacts to provide the S-100 to U.S. government and military customers. The S-100 Camcopter could have applications for a variety of civilian customers, as well."
Darren Sekiguchi, director of Boeing Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance Services, said that Camcopter customers "will benefit from Boeing's experience in supporting unmanned airborne systems. Our field service representatives have collectively flown more than 200,000 hours while providing command and logistics support to a variety of unmanned airborne systems programs."