April 29, 2011:
Austrian aircraft manufacturer Schiebel has sold two of its S-100 helicopter UAVs to South Korea. The S-100 weighs 200 kg (440 pounds), can stay aloft six hours per sortie and operates at a max altitude of 5,500 meters (18,000 feet). Max speed is 220 kilometers an hour. U.S. firm Boeing markets the S-100 in many parts of the world. Helicopter UAVs are considered superior in urban areas, or for operating off ships. South Korea wants to use the S-100s off its west coast, along the maritime border with North Korea.
While General Atomics has a lock on mid-size (1-5 ton) UAVs (Predator and Reaper), and AeroVironment has the bulk of the micro-UAV (two kg/4.4 pound) market with its Raven, the rest of the markets are up for grabs. Thus one of the traditional aviation companies, Boeing, is trying to grab market share via buying, or marketing, many promising UAV designs (A160T, ScanEagle, SolarEagle, Bat and the S-100 Camcopter). Boeing is hoping that one of these designs will catch on big.
Helicopter type UAVs are becoming more popular. The 1.5 ton A160T and .2 ton S-100 are helicopters, and able to hover. The A160T is also competing as a cargo carrier for the U.S. Marines. There are over 200 S-100s on order, mostly by armies and navies eager to try out a helicopter UAV under realistic conditions (including combat).