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WATCHKEEPER will provide the UK Armed Forces with an essential Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability based on the Hermes 450 UAV system and will be a key component of the UK's Network Enabled Capability (NEC).
This program will deliver equipment, training and facilities, with the capability of coming into service starting in 2010.
WATCHKEEPER will provide the UK Armed Forces with all-weather day and night surveillance in times of war, tension or during peace-keeping operations without the need to deploy troops into sensitive areas or harmful situations. The WATCHKEEPER system can provide continuous 24/7 surveillance when needed, using UAVs able to stay airborne for more than 16 hours each.
The WATCHKEEPER system consists of the WK450 unmanned air vehicle carrying day/night sensors and a laser target designator connected by a data link to a network of containerized ground control stations where operators will control the entire mission and interface within a network-enabled environment. High-resolution optical and radar imagery will be exploited and disseminated to provide valuable intelligence for operational commanders. The system is capable of rapid deployment and operations anywhere in the world.