When jamming of a surveillance rotorcraft over a restive theatre of conflict threatened the UAS’s GPS-based navigation system, a quick response from NovAtel and availability of the company’s GPS Anti-Jam Technology (GAJT®) quickly restored the aircraft to its crucial mission.

The challenge came for Vienna-based manufacturer Schiebel Aircraft GmbH’s CAMCOPTER® S-100, a state-of-the-art rotorcraft that makes for a highly versatile and fully autonomous UAS. “It’s a compact helicopter that’s able to accommodate a wide variety of payloads, tailored individually to answer our customers’ specific requirements,” says Chris Day, Schiebel’s chief technical officer.

With its carbon fiber and titanium fuselage, the S-100 meets a wide range of haulage and endurance demands, up to a service ceiling of 18,000 feet. And with two payload bays, an auxiliary electronics bay, as well as two side-payload hard points the emphasis is on maximizing payload: up to 50 kilograms (110 pounds).

Other than small line-of-sight-only aircraft—at the “model aircraft” end of the business—accurate positioning is needed by all UASs for successful navigation, whether remote or autonomous. The CAMCOPTER® S-100 includes NovAtel’s OEM628™ multi-constellation GNSS receiver as part of its Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) suite. NovAtel GNSS receivers and antennas are also present in some of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance payloads the CAMCOPTER® S-100 can carry.

Day says the vehicle’s GNSS components represent its primary source for navigation data; so, the precise positioning delivered by NovAtel is fundamentally important to its safe and efficient performance.

“Because the CAMCOPTER® S-100 is a vertical take-off and landing system, there is no need for launch and recovery equipment or prepared sites,” says Day, “and this means we can offer significant flexibility for use at remote, austere forward operating bases, or in the maritime environment, particularly on ‘single-spot’ vessels.”

The UAS can be programmed to fly an autonomous mission profile via a simple point-and-click graphical user interface, or it can be directed manually to waypoints throughout the course of operation.

Day says the CAMCOPTER® S-100 has demonstrated its abilities repeatedly in both civilian and military applications. “The system is being used as we speak to obtain day-time and night-time video imagery in support of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions,” he says, “and it has already proven its worth around the world in both land and maritime environments.”

Indeed, the CAMCOPTER® S-100 is being employed operationally by a number of customers across several continents. Day says the majority of Schiebel’s clients are foreign navies or other security-oriented organizations. The list also includes multinational organizations, and, of particular note currently, the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS).