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VTOL surveillance drone receives CASA approval

written by Staff reporter | February 15, 2024

The Schiebel Camcopter S-100 has become the first large vertical take-off and landing UAS to receive operational approval from CASA.

The approval, received by Wedgetail Aerospace with support from Schiebel Pacific, was granted following flight demonstrations in Western Australia.

The Camcopter S-100 has become the first vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) system to receive approval and will now be able to operate in Australian civil aerospace. The capability received a Defence Aviation Safety Authority Permit in 2017, granted to the Royal Australian Navy.

The approval has prompted the companies to pitch the Camcopter for fire and disaster monitoring, cargo delivery, and surveillance operations.


The company hopes to broaden their commercial partnerships in the Australian industry, Fabian Knechtl, managing director at Schiebel Pacific, said.

“This is a significant milestone for Schiebel Pacific and its Australian RPAS operations. The CASA approval enables us to offer the outstanding capabilities of the Camcopter S-100 system to the civil sector.

“With strong local partners, our wealth of experience in the operation of the S-100 and now with the approval of CASA, we are very well positioned for the Australian commercial market.”

The Commonwealth has shelved plans to procure the Schiebel Camcopter S-100, originally selected as part of SEA 129 Phase 5 Block 1, to deliver the Royal Australian Navy with a fleet of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance drones.

The Camcopter was originally single-sourced under the previous Coalition government in May 2022, bypassing the tender process for the Maritime Unmanned Aircraft System Continuous Development program.

Alternative contractors to put forward for SEA 129 Phase 5 Block 1 included BAE Systems Australia, Northrop Grumman Australia, and Insitu Pacific.

The Camcopter S-100 bid was supported by Raytheon Australia.

Originally reported by the ABC, the project was costed at $1.3 billion.

The capability was expected to provide intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance support to the Anzac Class and Arafura Class ships.

It was revealed in late 2023 that the drones had been sold to China and Russia.

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