S-100 Camcopter to operate from RN Type 23 frigates alongside Wildcat helicopters under Peregrine Program

The U.K. has awarded the Schiebel and Thales team a contract worth 20 million pounds sterling to buy S-100 Camcopter drones for its Type 23 frigates.

Must Read

Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

As part of its Peregrine programme, the U.K. just gave the Schiebel and Thales team a contract worth about 20 million pounds sterling to buy S-100 Camcopter drones for its Type 23 frigates.

Thales said in a statement on February 10 that as part of this contract, a rotary-wing tactical drone with powerful maritime surveillance sensors will be used to protect a Type 23 frigate while it is in use.

In particular, Schiebel’s S-100 Camcopter drones will have high-precision intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance sensors made by Thales, which has been named the prime contractor for integrated systems.

When the Royal Navy receives these drones, the sensors will be combined with an automatic identification system and an AIMS mission system from CarteNav. This will allow an operator to detect and quickly identify unknown targets, Thales explains. Thales will also provide the I-Master radar, which can work both in synthetic aperture mode (SAR) and detection mode (MMTI) for moving maritime targets.

The Royal Navy said that this system of aerial drones and the Wildcat helicopter will make it possible for a frigate to always keep an eye on its operational environment. It said that the high-definition images and radar data from Peregrine would go straight into the ship’s combat management system. This will help the crew understand the situation and make quick decisions.

The Peregrine drone, which can be used on warships in crowded and complicated areas, gives the Royal Navy what it needs to deal with the wide range of threats we face today, said Rear Admiral James Parkin, for whom this contract is an important step in the development of the Fleet Air Arm.

The “Peregrine” drone will be used on Type 23 frigates in the Middle East starting in the middle of 2024 for an initial period of two years. This will help the “Future Maritime Aviation Force” programme of the Fleet Air Arm plan for future investments.

Alex Cresswell, CEO of Thales U.K., said that this contract is an important step for the Royal Navy because it improves its operational capabilities right away and helps it move towards drone technology, which is in line with its future force strategy.

The S-100 drone, which the French Navy calls “Serval” and uses on its amphibious helicopter carriers, was tested during the recent REPMUS exercises off Portugal. It was mainly used to fight against submarines, as well as for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, and to move cargo.

Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) with Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) doesn’t need a particular area or equipment to take off or land. It works day and night in bad weather and up to 200 km (108 nautical miles) away from the line of sight, both on ground and at sea. Its carbon fibre and titanium fuselage can handle a wide range of payload combinations and endurance up to a service ceiling of about 18,000 ft. In a typical setup, the CAMCOPTER S-100 can carry a payload of 34 kg/75 lbs for up to 10 hours and is powered by either AVGas or JP-5 heavy fuel. Images of the payload taken in high definition are sent to the control station in real-time. The S-100 can navigate using GPS waypoints or by hand, but it can also work well in places where GPS isn’t available. Missions can be planned and controlled using a simple point-and-click graphical user interface.

The French Navy is betting on the SDAM programme [Aerial drone system for the Navy] to equip its first-tier ships with devices that can carry a payload of 250 kg. Compared to the French, the Royal Navy program is more ambitious.

Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm drone systems

In October 2020, British flagship HMS Albion became the first Royal Navy warship to deploy with a Fleet Air Arm drone flight to support operations.

The lightweight AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma had its first operational test during Albion’s autumn deployment to the Mediterranean. Its operators from 700X Naval Air Squadron’s Phantom Flight, which is usually based in Culdrose, Cornwall, are working on new strategies and figuring out how it and other unmanned aerial systems can be used together with other Royal Navy ships and equipment.

Puma is just over 4 1/2 feet long, has a wing span of 9 feet, and weighs as much as six bags of sugar. It can fly for up to two hours and watch an area of ocean that could be as big as 270 square miles.

The Puma AE can work in very bad weather, including temperatures from 29 to 49 °C, wind speeds up to 25 knots 0r 46 km/h, and an inch of rain per hour.

With a range of more than 10 miles and a battery life of more than two hours, the Puma can greatly improve a ship’s ability to gather information, such as the identity of shipping.

The drones can fly up to 45 miles per hour, and the Navy says they use a high-tech control system and a variety of sensors, including a 50x optical zoom, to send live video back to the ship.

Other than surveillance drones, the Royal Navy also has used fixed-wing target drones from its aircraft carrier. In October 2021, the HMS Prince of Wales launched drones from its flight deck as the Royal Navy started to look into using crewless technology on the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

Fixed-wing drones called QinetiQ Banshee Jet 80+ flew from the huge flight deck of the carrier to see how they could be used to train people to defend against fast jets and missiles that are getting better and better.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


More Articles Like This