UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE
28 May 09. The concluding review meeting of representatives from the customer nations France, Germany and Spain and EADS Defence & Security
(DS) has officially marked the end of the risk reduction study for the tri-national Advanced UAV. This was announced on 28 May by DS, which conducted the trilateral study. “The common understanding between the partners for the joint Advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for ISTAR
(Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance)
missions, as described in our study, is another stable pillar of European
security”, said Nicolas Chamussy, Senior Vice President for Mission Air
Systems within the integrated DS business unit Military Air Systems (MAS).
28 May 09. QinetiQ readies Aberporth UAV Centre for Watchkeeper. Watchkeeper trials scheduled to commence in the Autumn.
“The Advanced UAV project, once launched soon, will give our customers
operational flexibility, a permanent awareness picture on critical security hot spots home or abroad, and autonomy from third parties’ equipment and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) results”, Chamussy stated.
“For the Risk Reduction Study, which we received in late 2007, a joint team of dedicated engineers from DS in France, Germany and Spain was working very hard to deliver a tailor-made solution satisfying the common needs for an Advanced UAV for the Armed Forces of France, Germany and Spain. The close dialogue with the customers around the Advanced UAV Battle-lab has proved a unmatched tool to harmonise requirements and optimise the solution”, said Chamussy.
“Teamed with our partners for the radar, led by Thales in France, together with our business unit Defence Electronics, and Indra in Spain, the Advanced UAV will incorporate the most modern, modular sensor suite and data links, which are vital for sustainable and reliable ISTAR missions, which contemporary off-the-shelf platforms never can achieve. The twin-jet propulsion system of the Advanced UAV will not only supply ample on-board energy for the satellite communications, sensors and data links, but also safeguard secure flight conditions in the densely populated skies over Europe”, Chamussy explained. “I firmly believe that we fully understood our customers’ requirements, including their tight timeframe necessitated by the requirement for then state-of-the-art ISTAR equipment, and we are fully committed to make the programme progress in line with our customers”, he concluded.
A key milestone in the £899m MOD project to develop the Watchkeeper Unmanned Air System has been reached on schedule. QinetiQ, working closely with other stakeholders, has delivered the necessary infrastructure and facilities at ParcAberporth, Ceredigion, South Wales, as part of its ongoing £5m support contract – which means the Watchkeeper trials programme can commence here in the Autumn. QinetiQ has established secure office accommodation plus enhanced other aspects of technical support and facilities at the existing UAV ‘Centre of Excellence’, originally created by the then Welsh Development Agency on the site of the former RAF Aberporth. Other key stakeholders in the Watchkeeper programme include the MOD’s Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) Unmanned Air Systems Project Team, the Welsh Assembly Government, West Wales Airport and Thales, as the prime contractor.
“This programme is expected to bring unique trials, development and test flight and certification capabilities to West Wales, which can be used by the MOD and a range of unmanned air systems manufacturers, suppliers and customers,” explained QinetiQ’s project manager Robert Walter. “Their operation will lead to additional job opportunities as ParcAberporth becomes a centre of excellence for all future unmanned air vehicles.”
Dennis Cox, the DE&S Programme manager added: “The Watchkeeper project team have been working closely with the other stakeholders to put in place the infrastructure