The Thales Watchkeeper unmanned air system is set to play a key role in a major UK Royal Navy exercise later this year to understand how unmanned systems in the air and at sea might add real innovative operational capability in a military maritime environment.
More than 50 vehicles, sensors and systems from across defence and industry will be deployed in the Ministry of Defence Unmanned Warrior exercise in October.
For the first time, Watchkeeper, currently in service with the British Army, will fly in a littoral naval environment operating alongside a warship and a merchant vessel.
As an industry leader in autonomous and unmanned systems, Thales will be showcasing its capability through Watchkeeper, the Halcyon Unmanned Surface Vehicle and its collaborative work in the field of unmanned command and control research.
Watchkeeper will be integrated into a series of exercises varying from persistent wide area surveillance support up to 150 kilometres offshore, to landing forces and naval gunfire support.
The combination of Watchkeeper’s Electro-optical/infra-red sensor and I-Master Radar make Watchkeeper optimised for both land and sea operations, and for tracking fast moving targets such as jet skis and small boats.
Data collected by Watchkeeper will be streamed down remotely to the vessels and analysed by trained operators to make better informed command decisions in support of the trials exercises.