Camcopter S-100 assists in rescuing 8 800 refugees in the Mediterranean


In five months of operation, the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) rescued over 8 800 people in the Mediterranean, with the assistance of Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which was used to detect and monitor distressed vessels.

In 2014, MOAS and Schiebel rescued more than 2 800 men, women and children, Schiebel and MOAS said in a statement. This year in May the NGO┬┤s Phoenix, a 40-meter long ship, on which the Camcopter S-100 is stationed, set sail again until the end of September 2015. Under the guidance and coordination of Rome’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre it helped rescue over 11 600 people since the start of the operation in 2014.

The S-100 was able to locate refugee boats by day and night, even in rough sea conditions and at long distances. The camera of the unmanned helicopter delivers daylight and infrared video in real time to the MOAS team. Operated by Schiebel staff and largely sponsored by Schiebel, the unmanned helicopter serves to considerably extend the reach of the vessel beyond horizon to increase the area of influence.
“Schiebel has been supportive from the very beginning in 2014, helping MOAS to become the first civilian organization to use these high-tech helicopters for a great humanitarian purpose. Besides giving us a subsidized rate from the start, Schiebel has generously offered completely free use for the Camcopter S-100 in part of 2015,” said Martin Xuereb, the MOAS director.

After the end of this year’s Mediterranean mission, the NGO will continue to monitor the situation closely and plans to resume its operation next year. Schiebel has provided support since the start of the project and would be happy to join forces again to prevent deaths at sea whenever possible, it said.

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.