Fire Crews Called After Drone Crash Near West Wales Airport
(Source: Cambrian News; published June 14, 2017)
By Mike Lewis
A fifth British Army Watchkeeper drone crashed in Wales yesterday, almost a year after two were lost in 2017. The drone has never performed as planned, but cost £1.2 billion for 54 aircraft. (UK MoD photo)
A [Watchkeeper] drone launched from West Wales Airport at Aberporth crashed in a lane close to the airstrip at around 5pm yesterday afternoon. Police and firefighters were called to the scene near Cyttir Mawr farmhouse after the pilotless plane - also known as a UAV – apparently came down in some trees.

No-one was injured but a Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said one crew used foam to clean up the resulting fuel spill.


All enquiries to the airport were being directed to the MoD press office this morning.

“We are aware of an incident involving a Watchkeeper aircraft which did not result in any injuries,” said a spokesperson. “The aircraft has been secured and there is no risk to the public. An investigation is underway.”

Jill Gough, of CND Cymru, said: "By my reckoning this is the fourth drone they’ve lost - and these UAVs cost £6m apiece - it’s an absolute scandal, really. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Cambrian News website.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Watchkeeper programme was originally contracted for £800 million by the British Army, but delays and overruns have boosted its cost to over £1,200 million.
In exchange, the British Army obtained 54 Watchkeeper aircraft, several of which were rushed to Afghanistan so they could fly some token missions before the British Army pulled of the country.
They have since been mostly operating on training missions, with regular crashes diminishing their number: five having been lost to date.
Thales UK and Thales HQ in France did not respond to repeated requests for comment.)


British Army Drones Crashed After Taking Off from Ceredigion Airfield
(Source: Cambrian News; published Sept 14, 2017)
By Mike Lewis
Two multi-million-pound British Army drones crashed into the Irish Sea after taking off from Aberporth earlier this year, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

The loss of the unmanned Watchkeeper aircraft led to the temporary grounding of the entire fleet, it emerged last week, with flight trials only resuming in early July.

The crashes – coming three years after a multi-million-pound drone had to be scrapped after crashing on the Aberporth airfield - are the latest in a series of accidents and delays to have hit the Army’s new spy planes.

The MoD ordered 54 Watchkeepers in 2005 as part of an £847m deal. Originally, it was hoped they would be in service by 2010.

A recent report from the UK infrastructure and projects authority said the project had already cost £1.1bn. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the South Ceredigion Reporter website.


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