Government spending watchdog highlights “significant issues” for UK drone projects

The Ministry of Defence’s two flagship drone projects – the ‘Protector’ programme to introduce the Certifiable Predator B drone into service with the Royal Air Force, and the Army’s Watchkeeper surveillance drone – continue to face ‘significant issues’ according to a government spending watchdog.

The latest annual report (published in July 2019) of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA),  an agency of the Cabinet Office and the Treasury, has highlighted continuing problems, delays, and failures Read more

‘Significant issues’ facing MoD drone projects says spending watchdog

UK’s ‘Protector’ drone: questions over procurement and operation costs’.

Two of the government’s flagship drone projects – development of the new ‘Protector’ armed drone to replace the Royal Air Force’s current Reaper system, and the Army’s ‘Watchkeeper’ surveillance drone – are facing “significant issues” according to a newly published analysis of government major projects by a spending watchdog.

The latest annual report from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), an agency of the Cabinet Office and the Treasury, has highlighted a series of problems and delays currently challenging the two drone programmes. Read more

UK’s much delayed Watchkeeper drone deployed to Afghanistan

Watchkeeper at Camp Bastion Sept 2014 - Crown Copyright
Watchkeeper at Camp Bastion Sept 2014 – Crown Copyright

The UK’s new Watchkeeper drone has finally been sent to Afghanistan.  Well over three years late and just weeks before UK forces are due to be withdrawn, the MoD announced that Watchkeeper had become “fully operational.” However it is not clear what this means especially as all remaining UK troops in Afghanistan have been withdrawn to Camp Bastion and with the MoD announcing last month that all UK “offensive operations” have ceased.   The MoD refused to tell journalists how many Watchkeepers have actually been sent to Afghanistan. Read more

Watch out! Watchkeepers over Wiltshire

Watchkeeper UAV first flight in UK at MoD Aberporth. 14th April 2010.Drone Wars UK understands that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will announce on Monday (24 Feb) that live training flights of the Watchkeeper drone will begin over Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

The Watchkeeper drone has been developed under a £900m MoD contract by U-TacS,  a joint-venture company owned by Thales UK and Israeli company Elbit Systems.  Watchkeeper has now gained certification from the Military Aviation Read more

UK-France declaration reveals new Reaper users club to rival European drones club

cameron and hollande5
Prime Minister David Cameron and President François Hollande

The final text of the Declaration on Security and Defence signed at the UK-France Summit last week has now been released and it reveals some details about future European drone projects.  The whole document is worth reading to get an understanding of where UK-French military co-operation is heading, for example:

“Based on our experience of leadership in foreign policy and defence, the UK and France believe it is essential to take a comprehensive approach to safeguarding European and trans-Atlantic security. This means tackling instability where it arises, preventing conflict, building the capacity of local forces and encouraging long-term economic development as the most effective means to guarantee both the stability of our neighbourhood, the safety of our citizens and the security of our wider interests.” (Para 5)

Read more