A British Army Watchkeeper drone has conducted a sortie in support of UK Border Force efforts in the English Channel.
Watchkeeper is an uncrewed aircraft system with a range of intelligence and reconnaissance cameras and sensors, including a state-of-the-art surveillance radar say the Ministry of Defence.
“We remain fully committed to support the UK Home Office as they tackle the increasing number of small boats crossing the English Channel,” said a statement from the British Army.
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) September 2, 2020
According to ta Ministry of Defence news release:
“It lets the Army see things up to 200km away and helps keep our troops safe. It gathers information, such as spotting enemy activity, during the day and at night. It is built in the UK, and has been used successfully in Afghanistan, where it played a crucial protective role for British troops. Since the first flight in 2010, Watchkeeper has accumulated over 3,000 flying hours. A divisional level intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) asset, Watchkeeper can collect, process and disseminate high quality imagery intelligence to support the needs of the commander on the ground. Watchkeeper is an autonomous system that always requires a ‘human in the loop’ to authorise all aspect of its operations.
It is built to operate in range of ground and air conditions and is equipped to support a wide range of military and security missions. The system has a range of sensors and infra-red full motion video cameras, able to operate at day and night. Identifying assets on the ground is a primary function of Watchkeeper and it is fitted with radar technology and a ground movement target indicator. Within Watchkeeper’s laser sub-system are a separate target marker, designator, and range finder to assist in identifying different assets. The Watchkeeper system was built in the UK by Thales, with a UK supply chain supporting British manufacturing jobs. The system has undergone rigorous flight testing in west Wales and is certified to operate safely in UK airspace. With Watchkeeper primarily operating in the land environment, it is the Army, rather than the RAF, who are responsible for operating the aircraft.”