New Killer Drones Invade Airshow

A slew of armed, unmanned aircraft were on display at last week’s Farnborough air show — some for the first time.

The debuts included the Schiebel S100 Camcopter,
kitted out as a hunter-killer with Thales‘ new Lightweight Multirole
Missile. As the name suggests, the Camcopter was originally built with
other payloads in mind, but it is a useful platform for Thales LMM.

The missile, first revealed in June, has a range of five miles and a
warhead capable of taking out air, sea and land targets including light
armored vehicles and bunkers. The Camcopter can carry two missiles and
has an endurance of six hours.

mantisThe Mantis drone, unveiled for the first time at Farnborough, is intended to show BAE can compete with the Predator/Reaper in the armed drone market.

Like the Reaper, it packs a mixture of weapons — the one on display
here had four Brimstone anti-tank missiles and four GBU-12 laser-guided

It is described as an Advanced Technology Concept Demonstrator,
rather than a prototype, and is scheduled to fly early next year.
Development is likely to be rapid after that — the success of the
armed Predator and new Reaper drones is likely to open up a whole new
market sector, and General Atomics is unlikely to be able to maintain its monopoly.

furyUnveiled last month, but making its British debut is BAE’s Fury, a close relative of the company’s HERTI drone. It has a wing span of 41 feet and a cruising speed is around 100 mph.

BAE have already conducted live-fire tests with Thales Lightweight Multirole Missile. HERTI has flown classified missions in Afghanistan, and the requirement for an armed version may be derived from that experience.