Austrian unmanned air vehicle manufacturer Schiebel says it has no knowledge of whether its Camcopter system has performed flights from a Chinese warship, despite apparent Japanese evidence of its use.

"We don't know anything about this," says the company's chairman Hans Schiebel. "We can't say if the images are true, or fake, or a copy."

Schiebel adds, however, that the company has sold its Camcopter UAV to civilian customers in China, but these deals were "not substantial".

In May 2012, a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force aircraft photographed a Chinese Type 054A frigate operating a small unmanned helicopter that appeared to be the Schiebel Camcopter S-100.

Schiebel says there is a great deal of interest in Southeast Asia for the Camcopter, which is capable of operating from ships while at sea. "There is strong demand in the region," he says.

Around 140 Camcopters have been sold globally, he says, with 80% of these going to militaries and governments.

Source: Flight International