> our title:

French OPV in New Phase of UAV Trials

> original title:

Trials of S-100 Drone on Patrol Vessel l’Adroit

(Source: French navy; issued Dec. 17, 2013)

(Issued in French; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)

The S-100 small unmanned helicopter on the flight deck of the French navy OPV L’Adroit during the latest series of sea trials (French navy photo)

The offshore patrol vessel L'Adroit returned to port in mid-December 2013 after having completed a week of trials of the S-100 unmanned helicopter in the Mediterranean. The Navy plans to buy a multi-sensor rotary wing unmanned aerial vehicle as part of its Project SDAM. The trials conducted on L'Adroit are thus part of an incremental approach to defining operational requirements, which are in constant evolution and take into account new technologies that become available and feedback.

In the presence of engineers from DCNS, Schiebel (the manufacturer of the drone) and representatives of the DGA, drone detachment CEPA 10S has flight-tested a major update of the UAV’s flight control software, and its initial integration into the combat management system of L'Adroit.

These tests are very valuable to participants of the UAV trials, which can currently only be implemented from a Navy ship at sea equipped with radio communications allowing the operator to communicate with the UAV. L'Adroit, thanks its single mast, its platform and its helicopter hangar, is ideally suited to conduct such trials.

"Thanks to its optical camera and its long battery life, it allows you to see beyond the horizon, and greatly increases the patrol potential of the ship," says Commander Regnier, captain of L'Adroit, who appreciates the drone as a new source of information that can be correlated with other sensors aboard the ship. An opinion that is shared by Commander Grozel, commander of the drone detachment: "During the surveillance mission on the borders of the European Union (FRONTEX) that was carried out by our B crew in September, L'Adroit was able to monitor an area twice as large as would have been possible without the drone,” he said.

All French navy ships fitted with a flight deck, from patrol vessels to aircraft carrier, from frigates to BPC-class amphibious ships, will be able to operate an unmanned helicopter. Embarked unmanned aircraft strengthens the coherence between a ship’s detection sensors and its response, and provides a permanent surveillance capability while preserving manned air assets for high added-value operations.