London (UPI) Jun 30, 2016 –
Thales has been awarded a $106 million U.K. Ministry of Defense contract for Watchkeeper drone training, maintenance and support operations, the company announced.

The new future support contract builds on the previous initial support contract, Thales said in a statement.

The contract will provide technical support in the coming years while providing important additional capacity for training in order to generate operational capability.

Training support will entail the continuation of the Watchkeeper training facility, training solutions design, updates to training courses and additional instructional capacity for pilots, maintainers and support crew, Thales said.

Thales will also provide trained maintenance personnel to enhance the army's front-line engineering capacity.

Watchkeeper is the first operationally proven drone developed and built in the U.K. It provides real-time, enhanced situational awareness for troops on the ground.

It is also the first drone in U.K. aviation history to fly alongside manned aircraft in controlled civilian airspace.

Navy deploys Fire Scout drone with new radar
Washington (UPI) Jun 29, 2016 –
The U.S. Navy's MQ-8B Fire Scout drone recently deployed with a new maritime surveillance radar, the sea service said.

It was deployed on the USS Coronado Littoral Combat Ship with the Telephonics Corporation-built AN/APY-4(V)1 radar, which will improve situational awareness of the drone operators and the ship's crew in maritime and littoral environments, the Navy said.

The new radar also improves the drone's target classification for maritime and land targets.

Used in support of surface unit warfare objectives, the new radar will also expand the search area for the ship's combat team with its ability to simultaneously track up to 150 targets and increase detection accuracy out to 70 nautical miles, the Navy said.

The Fire Scout will support the upcoming Rim of the Pacific military exercise, where it will be deployed aboard the Coronado.


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