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Defence

MoD award Thales and Schiebel Royal Navy UAS contract

Schiebel and Thales have been awarded the Royal Navy 'Peregrine' Uncrewed Air Systems (UAS) contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Image copyright Schiebel

This new flexible and tactical uncrewed air system, procured by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), will be known as 'Peregrine' – a name with strong historic links to the Fleet Air Arm – will deliver the CAMCOPTER S-100 UAS, fitted with a powerful naval surveillance sensor suite, to provide a comprehensive maritime capability protecting Royal Navy ships on operational tasks.

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Schiebel, together with system integrator Thales, will provide the operationally proven S-100 with a range of high precision Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) sensors and systems. The Thales I-Master radar, an EO/IR camera and an Automatic Identification System (AIS), all fused with the CarteNav’s AIMS Mission System enables an all-weather detection and identification capability of unknown targets.

The S-100’s rapid launch ability, superior mission endurance and high quality sensors combine to find, track and identify targets providing additional protection for the ship and its crew. High-definition imagery and radar data downloaded to the system operator and transmitted in real-time into the ship’s Combat Management System (CMS), will provide the crew with invaluable time to prepare and enact operational decisions.

Alongside the Navy’s Wildcat patrol helicopters, Peregrine will enable round-the-clock surveillance of targets over Gulf waters and will be available for a spectrum of operational tasks to support allies and partners in the region.

Peregrine can be launched in challenging conditions, day and night and will be deployed to protect warships, greatly extending detection range and fidelity, for enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance gathering.

Andy Start, DE&S CEO, said: “The DE&S RPAS team have delivered a contract which will see a rapid development and deployment of a key Remotely Piloted Air System capability for the Royal Navy.

“Due to the collaborative approach we have taken with industry, the Navy shall be receiving a mature air system which is able to detect threats at range, protecting British interests in the Gulf.”

Rear Admiral James Parkin, the Royal Navy’s Director Develop, said: “I am delighted that we are at the stage where this excellent capability is about to be introduced into the front line.

“As a system both deployed onto and integrated into, warships and auxiliaries operating in congested and complex areas of the world, the Peregrine aircraft offers what the Royal Navy needs in order to respond to the wide variety of threats that we are facing today.

“Today is also a key milestone in the Fleet Air Arm’s evolution to a mixed crewed and uncrewed fighting arm of the Fleet and we are anticipating learning many lessons as such technologies continue to develop and offer new opportunities for the current and future Navy.”

Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group, said: “We are immensely proud that the CAMCOPTER S-100 is the UK Ministry of Defence’s choice for its prestigious Peregrine programme. The S-100 is the optimal UAS for a growing number of Navies worldwide and has proven its superiority and outstanding capabilities throughout its numerous operational deployments.”

The air system – which takes off from the ship’s flight deck like a helicopter would – will be the first uncrewed rotary wing aircraft to operate alongside a Wildcat helicopter, allowing for round-the-clock aerial surveillance in a timely boost to the Royal Navy’s operational capability.

The high-definition imagery and radar data from Peregrine will be fed directly into the ship’s Combat Management System, allowing the command team to have good situational awareness and make rapid operational decisions.

Peregrine will be deployed directly into an operational theatre from mid-2024, initially for two years, with the option to extend. This foundation based on operational lessons will give the Royal Navy valuable experience and understanding of the use of uncrewed systems in this role ahead of further decisions and investments.

The name Peregrine is inspired by the former HMS Peregrine, the Royal Naval Air Station in Ford, West Sussex, that was used after the Second World War as the Fleet Air Arm’s dedicated test and development centre in the early years of carrier-borne jet aircraft.
 

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