12 Jun 02. Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems revealed that it has secured two of the UK’s top defence equipment suppliers as part of its team bidding for the Watchkeeper battlefield surveillance system.
Meggitt Defence Systems of Ashford in Kent will be providing compact tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to fulfil the reconnaissance needs of Brigade and Battlegroup commanders. These advanced delta-wing air vehicles have a 3m wingspan and are manufactured using the latest carbon fibre technology.
The air vehicle, named Spectre 3, is a development of their highly successful Spectre airframe that has been in service with the French artillery since the mid 1990s.
Supacat of Dunkeswell, Devon, will be providing the 6×6 High Mobility Truck (HMT) air portable vehicle upon which a launch ramp will be mounted. This same vehicle will also carry the ground station from which the Spectre 3 will be operated. The Supacat HMT is a new and novel design that has been developed using advanced air suspension and engine technology originated from the commercial sector.
Project Watchkeeper will use unmanned air vehicles, equipped with powerful, all weather sensors, to gather real-time imagery from behind enemy lines, and relay it to ground stations where critical intelligence will be extracted and disseminated.
Andy Head, Lockheed Martin UK Integrated Systems’ Marketing Director said: “Announcing these key team members demonstrates firstly our commitment to a best of breed solution; and secondly, that we acknowledge the depth of expertise and experience already resident in the UK.
“Our strategy all along has been to incorporate the best equipment from the world’s premier suppliers in a particular sector. Both Meggitt and Supacat have earned their places on our team through merit and it is excellent to see these UK companies playing a significant role.”
Terry Timms, Managing Director of Meggitt Defence Systems said: “We are convinced that being part of Lockheed Martin’s team for the MoD’s Watchkeeper programme will give us the best chance of winning the project. We are world-leaders in UAV platforms and Lockheed Martin are acknowledged leaders in complex systems integration – together we make a world beating team.” He added: “Our solution is also best for the UK. This is a major project and if we are successful it could lead to 25 more jobs at our production facility in Ashford, Kent.”
Andrew Jones, Managing Director of Supacat said: “Our new High Mobility Truck (HMT) is a league ahead of anything else in its class and is gaining wide interest from a number of nations. Being a small company has allowed us to innovate and it is excellent that this is recognised by the leading systems integrator, Lockheed Martin. If the team wins this major MoD project it could create 30 jobs at our new production facility which will open at our present site at the end of the year.”
BATTLESPACE IS RUNNING A WATCHKEEPER FEATURE FOR OUR SPECIAL JUNE/JULY FARNBOROUGH ISSUE