The UK’s Watchkeeper ISTAR UAV



January 17/19: Exercise after defense cooperation The British Royal Air Force (RAF) holds its annual Cobra Warrior exercise in September at Coningsby Air Base in Lincolnshire and it features a premiere: Israeli Air Force aircrew and fighter jets are to take part in a joint exercise with the Royal Air Force in Britain for the first time. The exercise is the culmination of the advanced Qualified Weapons Instructor course, and usually also includes crew and aircraft from other allied air forces who fly together with the British teams in complex combat scenarios. Last year, German and Italian aircraft joined the RAF. Recent British-Israeli defense cooperation has included the training of British personnel on the use of Israeli weapons systems acquired by Britain: the Watchkeeper WK450 drone, the Exactor ground-based missile, and the Litening targeting pod carried by RAF Typhoon and Tornado aircraft.


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Britain has given the green light to the Watchkeeper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Program. The contract with Thales UK will be worth around GBP 700 million ($1.23 billion), and is expected to create or sustain up to 2000 high-quality manufacturing jobs in the UK. The Watchkeeper program also received recent praise for "best practices" in the UK National Audit Office's (NAO's) annual Major Projects Report....

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