RAN tests camcopter drone onboard HMAS Ballarat

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has begun shipborne trials of the Schiebel S-100 Camcopter rotor-winged unmanned aerial system (UAS) on the Anzac-class frigate HMAS Ballarat .

The trials, which were held to glean operating data, were conducted off the eastern coast of Australia by 822X Squadron, and test specialists from the service’s aircraft maintenance and flight trials unit (AMAFTU), said the RAN in its official Navy Daily publication on 17 July.

The trials are being conducted as part of Australia’s Navy Minor Project (NMP) 1942 programme, which seeks to equip the RAN with interim shipborne vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS competencies.

Meanwhile, NMP 1942 is understood to be a precursor to Project SEA 129 Phase 5, which will equip the RAN’s future offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and major surface combatants with operational UAS capabilities.

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In 2018, the RAN completed a series of verifications to ensure that the JP-5 heavy-fuel-powered version of the S-100 Camcopter is cleared for shipborne evaluations.

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