Schiebel performs unmanned helicopter testing for South Africa

By Luke Geiver | November 05, 2015

Schiebel Group, the Vienna-based unmanned aircraft vehicle manufacturer, has proven the capability of its unmanned helicopter design in the waters near South Africa. Working with the South African Navy at False Bay, Western Cape, South Africa, Schiebel flew its trademarked Camcopter S-100 off the deck of a deep-ocean hydrographic survey vessel.

The S-100 is capable of vertical take-off and landing and can fly for six hours up to heights of 18,000 feet. The system can fly in high-wind conditions or temperatures ranging from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to +131 degrees Fahrenheit.

During the test flights, crosswinds reached 25 knots and the deck size on the ship was limited. According to Schiebel, the unmanned helicopter “effortlessly conducted automatic takeoffs and landings and all other required maneuvers, thanks to its integrated GPS-independent positioning system, enabling pinpoint precision at a high dynamic range.”

The test included the use of an electronic support system used to detect, identify and geo-locate radio frequency sources. The system could be used for maritime surveillance missions or anti-piracy operations that the South African Navy may be interested in, Schiebel said. 

Earlier this year Schiebel assisted helping rescue more than 8,000 refugees in the Mediterranean.