Armed Forces - a6a14 - WatchkeeperTactical Unmanned Air System (TUAV)


WATCHKEEPER Tactical Unmanned Air System (TUAS)

In July 2005 a 800 million contract was awarded to Thales to provide the Royal Artillery with a Tactical Unmanned Air System (TUAS) named Watchkeeper designed for all weather, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) use.

The Watchkeeper TUAS capability is part of the UKs plans for a Network Enabled Capability that will provide UK commanders with accurate, timely and high quality information, including imagery.

Watchkeeper will be fully integrated into the wider command and control digitised network, passing data quickly to those who need it via a satellite datalink to a network of ground control stations, where the imagery will be analysed and disseminated.

Watchkeeper will be operated and deployed by 32 and 47 Regiments Royal Artillery to meet the information requirements of HQ Land Manoeuvre Commanders with first aircraft in service during 2011.

Watchkeeper is based on the Elbit Hermes 450 UAV design and each aircraft is believed to cost about 15 million. Watchkeeper replaced the older Phoenix UAV system in UK Army service.

Watchkeeper TUAS Specifications

(possibly 54 on order)

Take off weight




Fuselage length


Max Speed 175kph
Operational Ceiling 5,000 m plus
Endurance more than 20 hours
Payload 150kg

Photo Copyright Thales