Thales UK awarded £6m Watchkeeper contract in progress toward main contract award
The Thales UK WATCHKEEPER team has been awarded a contract worth over £6M by MoD as part of the progress towards the main investment decision point. This critical path activity contract will include aspects of airworthiness approval, defining evaluation and acceptance criteria and ground systems integration risk reduction.
In July 2004 Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon named Thales UK as the preferred bidder to deliver the UK’s WATCHKEEPER Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) programme. The WATCHKEEPER programme at around £800M will provide UK Armed Forces with vital battlefield intelligence and will be a key enabler in the drive towards Network Enabled capability (NEC).
Alex Dorrian, CEO Thales UK said: “We are pleased with the good progress that has been made by the MoD and Thales UK in preparation for a main investment decision for WATCHKEEPER. It is important that this work is undertaken as soon as possible to get this vital ISTAR capability to our armed forces.”
Colonel Kevin Harvey, Integrated Project Team Leader Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles said: “We are determined to maintain the strong momentum in the WATCHKEEPER programme while ensuring that all risks are fully understood. We are working closely with Thales UK to provide the levels of confidence sought for all MoD programmes prior to major investment decisions.”
WATCHKEEPER will provide UK commanders with vital Intelligence, Surveillance, target Acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) information through the provision of accurate, timely and high quality imagery.
It will contribute to meeting critical information requirements and will interface with many different battlefield assets. In order to achieve this WATCHKEEPER will carry a range of payloads including EO/IR sensors laser target designators, synthetic aperture radars and moving target indicators.
It will support intelligence collection and target engagement day and night and in all weather conditions. Information will be sent back to commanders in near real-time allowing the detection and tracking of targets without having to deploy troops into potentially dangerous areas.
Thales UK is offering includes air vehicles designed by Elbit
Silver Arrow, as well as a full support package, ground
control stations, datalinks and training equipment provided by
Thales UK and sub contractors including Boeing, Cobham, Cubic,
Marshall SV, Logica CMG, Vega and QinetiQ.