New French and UK Joint UAV Unit

Britain plans to send the Watchkeeper to Afghanistan this year, possibly to serve with a French Army unit working with the British Army team flying the tactical UAV.

Britain is pulling troops out of Afghanistan this year and still has 5,000 soldiers in the field. France brought back combat troops in 2012. Meanwhile, according to Defense News the French Army is “full of hope” Paris will order the unmanned aerial vehicle, a French officer said at the conference.

Thales UK builds the Watchkeeper based on Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450. The UAV moved closer to deployment in the field after an initial release to service was granted on March 5. The French Army is testing the Watchkeeper for a potential order of the surveillance system. The 61st artillery regiment attached a team of non-commissioned officers to a British Royal Artillery unit flying the UAV in Wales.

Source: I-HLS

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