The Thales WatchkeeperÂ will provide enhanced drone recce capability, enabling British commanders to detect and track targets for long periods, without the need to deploy troops into potentially sensitive or dangerous areas. The system is designed of rapid deployment and operations anywhere in the world and will support the information requirements of all three services.ÂŠThales
maritime patrol aircraft programme, retiring the Harrier aircraft and HMS Ark Royal, switching to the carrier variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter...) have brought into question the ability of the armed forces to fulfil the tasks expected of them. The Parliamentary Defence Committee has thus called for a complete re-write of the 2010 SDSR, citing new threats that have emerged since 2010 such as a newly assertive Russia and the rise of the Daesh terrorist organisation (known by some as Islamic State), and the end of UK operations in Afghanistan.
MPs have raised concerns about the lack of a maritime patrol aircraft and the government says it is examining maritime surveillance as part of the 2015 SDSR. It may also confirm an order for 13 Type 26 frigates and clarify how many Lightning II aircraft it intends to buy. The SDSR should also clarify investments in air surveillance assets such as remotely piloted air systems (RPAS). Cameron has already announced the second aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales will be brought into service, ending years of un, certainty about its future.
A Royal Air Force Reaper from 39 Squadron, makes its approach to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan following a mission. The aircraft, armed with Paveway bombs and Hellfire missiles, was remotely controlled from Kandahar for takeoff and landing and by British troops in Nevada during the actual sortie.
EDR - September / October 2015
European Defence Review magazine issue #23