British Army\'s new UAV Watchkeeper takes its inaugural flight - video

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British Army's new UAV Watchkeeper takes its inaugural flight - video

Watchkeeper WK450 is a 800 million contract to provide the British Army with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for all weather, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) use.

The Watchkeeper is to be based on the Elbit Hermes 450 UAV (designated WK450). The engine is a rotary Wankel engine. It is intended to enter service in 2010. It will have a weight of 450 kg and a payload capacity of 150 kg, and will have a typical endurance of 17 hours.

The Watchkeeper will be built in the UK by a joint venture company, UAV Tactical Systems (U-TacS), set up by the Israeli company Elbit Systems (51% ownership) and Thales UK. UAV Engines Ltd, who will build the rotary engine in the UK, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems.

The majority Israeli ownership has caused some unexpected problems obtaining U.S. export authorization for some components.[2]

54 Watchkeepers will be delivered to the British Army. The average cost to the taxpayer is therefore 800m divided by 54 aircraft, approximately 15m per platform.[3] These UAVs will be powered by the UK based company ABSL Power Solutions with high power high-energy lithium ion batteries which will be developed with production commencing end of 2008.

The UK could integrate a lightweight weapon with its Watchkeeper 450 tactical unmanned air vehicles, operations of which should begin from late next year.
... Quote:
We are conducting analysis to investigate the contribution that an armed Watchkeeper UAV system could make in current and future operations.
confirms minister for international defence and security Baroness Taylor. The work is being conducted as part of the Ministry of Defence's "routine capability planning process", she says.

Taylor's comment represents the first time that the MoD has acknowledged the possibility of arming the British Army's future WK450 air vehicles. However, the ministry adds: "We are still at an early stage of considering the benefits, and as yet no decisions regarding which munitions should be used have been made."


Watchkeeper's first UK flight took place on Wednesday 14th April 2010 from Parc Aberporth in Wales. THis is the video of it



 http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

watchkeeper-uav-flight.jpg - 13.45kb
By netchicken: posted on 20-4-2010








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