A Schiebel Camcopter unmanned helicopter crashed in Libya on Tuesday, but it’s not clear whether the aircraft was operated by the country’s military or a militia group.
Photos posted on social media websites earlier this week show a badly damaged Camcopter resting in the desert. It was apparently shot down by the Libyan Army near al-Watya air base but it is not clear who was operating the rotorcraft.
Confusing the matter was a notice on the side of the aircraft, in English and Arabic, which said the Camcopter was property of the Coast Guard Administration. There was also a European Union flag on the helicopter’s tail.
In 2009 Austria sold four S-100 Camcopters to Libya, which apparently went to the country’s 32nd (Khamis) Brigade. However, Schiebel said the UAVs were exported to monitor refugees along the country’s borders.
The Camcopter can operate during both day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a beyond line-of-sight capability out to 200 km, both on land and at sea, Schiebel says.
The S-100 navigates via pre-programmed GPS waypoints or is operated with a Pilot Control Unit. Missions are planned and controlled via simple point-and-click graphical user interface and high definition payload imagery is transmitted to the control station in real-time. Using “fly-by-wire” technology controlled by a triple-redundant flight computer, the UAV can complete its mission automatically.
Its carbon fibre and titanium fuselage provides capacity for a wide range of payload/endurance combinations up to a service ceiling of 18,000 feet and, in the standard configuration, carries a 75 lbs/34 kg payload for over 6 hours.