UK MoD Selects Thales for Watchkeeper Program


Released on Tuesday, July 20, 2004
United Kingdom
C-130H Hercules
ISTAR - Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance
MoD - Ministry of Defence
NEC - Network Enabled Capability
UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
UK - United Kingdom
The UK Ministry of Defense announced that Thales UK has been selected as preferred bidder for the next phase of the acquisition cycle of the Watchkeeper program.

The Watchkeeper program is aimed at providing British forces with a persistent Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability based on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and will pave the way for UK forces Network Enabled Capability (NEC) vision.

Thales UK anticipates around £400 million ($713 million) worth of export orders of Watchkeeper-related technologies and systems. Approximately 2,100 jobs will created or sustained in the UK with potential export orders rising that figure to 2,500.

Thales and Elbit systems are establishing a Joint Venture company in Leicester, UK, to manufacture tactical UAV sub-systems for Watchkeeper and other tactical UAV programs worldwide. The Thales-led Watchkeeper solution consists of fully integrated ground environment, higher endurance, lower attrition air vehicles, lower maintenance, and the ability to deploy a whole system to theatre in a single C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft.

The Thales led team includes the Joint Venture Company, Elbit, Marshall SV, LogicaCMG, Vega, Boeing, Cobham, Cubic, Supacat, QinetiQ and Praxis. The Watchkeeper tactical UAV system is planned to enter service in 2006 for a 30-year period.

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