Regional media outlets are reporting a Saudi unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was shot down in Ta’izz Governorate in southwestern Yemen on or about October 25, 2015. Video of the wreckage shown on YouTube indicates that the UAV in question is a Schiebel Camcopter S-100.
The UAV appears to be configured with an Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) sensor on the main payload station (bottom of the aircraft). An empty rack was also noted at the left-hand side payload station. It is unknown, however, if a payload was installed there at the time of the downing. A number of payloads have been demonstrated on this station including several types of RADAR, LIDAR mapping, and psychological warfare payloads. The S-100 has also been shown with air-launched munitions on left and the right side stations.
Although no insignia could be seen in the footage ARES observed, the UAV most likely belongs to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) rather than Saudi Arabia. UAE operates 40 or more S-100 aircraft, which are locally known as the Al Sabr, under a co-production agreement with Schiebel, an Austrian company. The UAE is reported to have lost another S-100 in the Mukayris region of southern Yemen in August 2015.
The Camcopter S-100 is a tactical UAV. Key dimensions include
- Main rotor diameter 3.4 m
- Length: 3.11 m
- Height: 1.12 m.
The maximum takeoff weight is 200 kg while the maximum fuel and payload weights are 42 kg and 50 kg, respectively. It has an endurance of 6+ hours (at 55 knots and 34 kg payload) with a maximum operating radius of 200 km. The ground control station (GCS) consists of the data link transceiver and as little as two laptop computers. It is network-enabled thus allowing it to be integrated into larger systems.
Development started in 2003 with the UAE being the launch customer. It is also operated by a number of other states including China, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Libya, Russia, the United States, India and South Africa. ARES is aware that at least three S-100 UAVs have been lost in Libya, Somalia, and Ukraine.
With thanks to Alex Wambugu.