PAS 2011: First US contract for Camcopter expected soon
On the eve of the Paris Air Show Boeing said that it expected to see a contract for the Schiebel Camcopter S-100 from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) within the next two months.
Vic Sweberg, programme manager for unmanned airborne systems, said that he was confident US SOCOM would sign a three year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for its Expeditionary Unmanned Air System (Maritime) project before the end of the summer.
Boeing and Schiebel entered a teaming arrangement to pursue the project in mid-2009. Under the terms of the arrangement Boeing has the marketing rights to the Camcopter S-100 in the US and a number of other countries where Boeing has a stronger presence.
An initial evaluation stage for the project is believed to have involved three UAS. The other companies looking at the project included Cybaero working with Evergreen Unmanned Systems.
Sweberg said that Boeing was now in final contract negotiations with US SOCOM and expected those negotiations to be complete within two months. The company expects US SOCOM to initially buy one system, which will comprise the aircraft and associated ground equipment.
The final total number of systems over the three years is expected to be six systems, although Boeing pointed out that there will be some flexibility. As well as the 18 Camcopters that would be included in a six system buy, Boeing said there was also an option for another eight aircraft with US SOCOM looking at the possibility of going to a four aircraft system.
So far Boeing has bought five Camcopters from Schiebel in preparation for the contract and other possible opportunities. Part of Boeing’s role is to furnish the aircraft with ITAR restricted elements for the US SOCOM, including the L-3 Wescam MX-10 EO/IR payload proposed for the contract plus the falcon eye targeting system.
A Boeing official told Shephard that they were currently developing a version of the system for another US government customer.
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