UK’s Desert Hawk to get upgrade

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The United Kingdom's Defence Procurement Agency awarded Lockheed Martin a $2.65 million contract to enhance the British Army's Desert Hawk Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).

Originally developed by Lockheed Martin as a force protection airborne surveillance system under a US Air Force contract, the Desert Hawk UAS offers autonomous intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities, including terrain avoidance and dynamic flight plan re-tasking.

It is a lightweight, compact system that requires only two people to operate The US Air Force owns 21 Desert Hawk systems, including 126 air vehicles, which are currently deployed in the Middle East.

Under the


contract, Lockheed Martin will provide new Desert Hawk systems in addition to upgrading the


’s existing fleet to the new build standard.

Capabilities of the new standard include enhanced plug and play electro-optics, infrared colour or black/white electro-optical imager payloads, ground control stations, remote video terminals, field repair kits, and global positioning satellite tracking and location capabilities.

The contract also defines provisions for spares and technical support. Future options include electro-optical turrets. The air vehicles are scheduled for delivery to the British Army in March 2006.