VIENNA, Austria — Norway’s Andøya Test Center selected Schiebel’s market-leading Camcopter S-100 vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned air system (UAS) for extensive search-and-rescue trials as part of the Arctic 2030 project, the company said in a May 2 release.
In a typical configuration, the Camcopter S-100 operates six hours continuously and is able to simultaneously carry multiple payloads, offering significant payload flexibility to the user. Therefore, the S-100’s missions deliver aerial views that reach considerably farther than manned helicopters.
The S-100 also offers a number of key advantages for naval operations in the Arctic. As a VTOL platform, the Camcopter does not require any additional start or recovery equipment and its minimal footprint is perfect for offshore patrol vessels with small deck sizes. The S-100 also distinguishes itself through its ability to perform in the harshest weather conditions, flying at temperatures down to -40°C. This has been proven in a series of intensive trials, such as the Canadian icebreaker operations. In this particular case, the Camcopter S-100 was deployed 60 nautical miles north of Fogo Island, offshore Canada, providing a wide-view image of the ice structure as well as identifying the boundaries between flat and rough ice.
The goal of the Andøy Municipality project is a demonstration of VTOL UAS use in the Arctic region in an effort to increase maritime safety. For this purpose, the Camcopter S-100 will be equipped with an electro-optical/infrared camera gimbal, an Overwatch Imaging PT-8 Oceanwatch payload, an automatic identification system receiver and a maritime broadband radio by Radionor. Such a combination of payloads is intended to strengthen emergency preparedness in the region and provide search and rescue mission support.
Tests are scheduled to commence in the fall of 2019 with the UAS being deployed from Norwegian Coast Guard vessels in Andfjorden, Northern Norway. More operations are planned in Spitsbergen in the spring of 2020.
“This is clearly an important milestone in the project,” said Gunnar Jan Olsen, general manager of the Andøya Test Center. “We have already gained some experience with the Schiebel Camcopter S-100 UAS during an impressive demonstration in 2017. We believe that these current, more extensive S-100 trials will demonstrate that maritime safety in the Arctic can effectively be increased with the help of VTOL UAS.”