Thales UK to offer S-100 UAV to Royal Navy

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Thales UK has teamed with Schiebel to offer the Austrian firm's S-100 Camcopter to compete for an expected Royal Navy requirement for a vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle. The two companies signed a teaming agreement during last month's Paris air show, with Thales to head marketing efforts and to be responsible for system integration elements of the proposed bid.

Thales UK Aerospace managing director Richard Deakin says the S-100 will provide a high level of flexibility in maritime roles. "It has got quite a good payload and is surprisingly capable. From a Royal Navy point of view, if you are looking at payloads, it would be more than adequate for the job."

The UK Ministry of Defence hopes to launch a maritime VTOL UAV competition by year-end, with other contenders expected to include Northrop Grumman offering the MQ-8B Fire Scout, and EADS, which is exploring bid options based on its developmental ORCA and SHARC aircraft.

Schiebel has also announced a teaming arrangement with Diehl BGT Defence to compete for an expected German navy requirement for a VTOL UAV.