In anticipation for the U.S. requirement for ISR services in support of combat surface ships, Saab North America has teamed with Computer Sciences to offer a larger version of the Skeldar rotary wing UAV called Skeldar 200, displayed for the first time at the AUVSI convention in Washington DC this week. Saab has recently completed ship-based flight trials with the maritime variant of the aircraft, the V-200M. According to Saab, among the naval related features of the Skeldr are its heavy-fuel engine, automatic landing on the ship without using a landing harpoon, clearing operations up to sea state 4.
According to the Navy’s request for proposal, the Navy plans to equip up to seven DDG-51 (Arleigh Burke) class destroyers with up to six air frames each, providing in order to provide between 300 and 600 hours of full motion video a month. The navy is considering both VTOL and fixed-wing solutions. Boeing is also offering the Sciebel S-100 for this task while other companies are offering fixed wing solutions to meet these requirements.
According to Shepard’s UVOnline, the US Special Operations Command is also interested in this ‘class’ of UAV and suggested that Skeldar could be put forward for the navy’s Ship-launched Persistent Integrated Countermeasure Electronic Warfare (SPICE) requirement.