LONDON --- The British Army has declared full operational capability (FOC) for the Watchkeeper tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAS), Jane’s has learned.
The milestone, known as FOC 2, was “achieved on 30 November 2018”, said a senior military source, although the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) chose at the time not to announce it.
A British Army spokesperson told Jane’s on 6 February, “Watchkeeper achieved full operational capability 2 at the end of last year. Since then, 47 Regiment Royal Artillery has had two batteries at readiness to deploy on operations anywhere in the world.”
The military source said the regiment has four equipment batteries that “will cycle through training and operational readiness”.
The British Army had hoped to achieve FOC 2 early in 2018 but a series of crashes by Watchkeeper air vehicles meant its release to service (RTS) certification to allow it to be safely used for routine training and operations could not be declared, so FOC 2 had to be delayed. (end of excerpt)
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