The British Army latest unmanned aircraft The Watchkeeper will start flying over Wiltshire on 25 February 2014. The Watchkeeper unmanned aerial system (UAS) was developed by Thales for the British army.
The reconnaissance and surveillance drone with a 10.7m wingspan is equipped with a day and night camera. It will provide 24-hour high-definition coverage and a radar sensor to improve visibility in bad weather.
The drone capable of flying at an altitude of up to 4900 m (16000 ft) was designed to be able to stay above areas of interest for a significantly longer period of time compared with existing systems, in order to provide better images to ground-based troops.
The aircraft was tested in West Wales in 2010.
The Army currently operates four types of UAS in Afghanistan. The fleet has already completed about 120000 flying hours. From now onwards, Watchkeeper will be operated alongside helicopters and other aircraft from the Boscombe Down airfield in Amesbury, Wiltshire, by 1st Artillery Brigade.
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. Its flight is controlled either autonomously by onboard computers or by the remote control of a pilot on the ground or in another vehicle.
Who: British Army
When: 25 February 2014.
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