Mozambique will operate Schiebel Camcopter vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from its Ocean Eagle 43 offshore patrol vessels, and has ordered three of the aircraft.
The three vessels will be delivered this month, after being ordered in September 2013 in a 200 million euro contract with French shipyard CMN that also includes three HSI 32 interceptors and 24 fishing vessels. The first Ocean Eagle was launched on 22 January 2015.
The three Camcopter S-100 remotely piloted helicopters were ordered from Austrian company Schiebel, according to Mer et Marine, and began pre-delivery testing in Cherbourg, France, but proper flight testing will only be done in Mozambique due to regulations concerning the flight of UAVs in France.
The trimaran Ocean Eagle 43 vessels are 43.6 metres long, are powered by four Scania engines for a top speed of 30 knots and have a range of 3 000 miles at 20 knots. They can launch a rigid-hulled inflatable boat from the stern and have a small platform able to accommodate aircraft weighing less than 300 kg.
The first three HSI 32 interceptors left France for Mozambique in January. Another three were ordered in January 2015.
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.