by Richard Tomkins
Canberra, Australia (UPI) Feb 13, 2017
The Royal Australian Navy is acquiring a Schiebel S100 Camcopter as it develops an unmanned aircraft system capability.
The unmanned helicopter will be used for trials and evaluation activities for at least three years under the Navy Minor Project 1942.
The RAN, in its Navy Daily publication, said the contract with the Austrian company is for two S100 Camcopter air-vehicles with mission control systems, as well as engineering, logistics and operational support.
"The Navy is rapidly developing an enduring unmanned aircraft system capability that will improve the situational awareness for ships, providing a significant warfighting advantage," the publication said.
"Unmanned systems will be critical in future warfighting and will allow ships to more readily see beyond the horizon, providing greater intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities."
The $12.2 million Navy project will build on the knowledge and experience already gained through operating the fixed-wing Scan Eagle unmanned system.
The project will give the navy an understanding of the workforce requirements, organizational structures, performance specifications, tactics and procedures required to maintain a permanent unmanned capability, Navy Daily said.
The RAN is testing a variety of new systems to reduce risks ahead of acquiring a permanent unmanned capability in the early 2020s.
In-country support for the Schiebel aircraft will be provided by BAE Systems and Unmanned Systems Australia.
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