Thales UK has unveiled the final configuration of the Watchkeeper unmanned air vehicle (UAV) following a Critical Design Review by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The Watchkeeper air vehicle design, which can automatically takeoff and land, includes a dual-payload configuration and improved access to sub-systems for easier maintenance.
The air vehicle has been developed with Elbit Systems and will be manufactured at UAV Tactical Systems (U-TacS) – the Thales UK/Elbit Systems joint company) site in Leicester.
The UAV, with highly sophisticated sensors, will provide the UK’s armed forces with essential Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities.
The UAV will carry a payload containing sensors appropriate to the tasks in hand. These will range in capability between Electro-Optical/Infrared, Laser Target Designator and Synthetic Aperture Radar/Moving Target Indicator to support data collection both day and night, in all weather conditions and against targets for which some concealment has been attempted.