Gloucester, UK, December 2008: LAST MONTH saw the successful first system flight trials of the WATCHKEEPER unmanned air vehicle (UAV), with the autonomous flight taking place under the system guidance of the Watchkeeper ground control software and fully integrated within the ground control station (GCS). These trials of the UAV will continue into 2009 and will validate the key mission system capability of the WATCHKEEPER system.
During the first successful flight trials at Elbit’s facilities in Israel, the Watchkeeper UAV was controlled by the WATCHKEEPER GCS using Thales software on Secure Systems & Technologies rugged server hardware and performed an automatic take-off and landing.
"This is another major step forward on the WATCHKEEPER programme and one of a number of trials that are scheduled over the coming months,” said Mark Barclay, Managing Director of Thales’ UK Aerospace business. “We have made steady progress since the contract was signed in 2005 and I am particularly pleased that Thales and our external partners continue to deliver in line with the agreed customer schedule."
Specialist defence and security IT manufacturer, Secure Systems & Technologies, (SST) previously reported the major contract win for its specialist TEMPEST Military Rugged hardware solutions. Reflecting its capabilities for Military Rugged EMC product specialisation, SST was chosen for the WATCHKEEPER programme to develop and supply the rugged military flight-critical Ground Control Server Systems, as well as the powerful image data processing hardware.
Managing Director Mathew Richards commented on the company's latest success:
"WATCHKEEPER continues to be an important programme for us, underlining SST’s ability to meet exacting environmental and EMC specifications. With a reputation for engineering excellence matched by integration expertise and service using 3D CAD design and modelling, plus exhaustive TEMPEST/EMC environmental and shock/vibration testing we have already proved our ability to deliver an integrated capability by developing and supplying the rugged servers for the programme.
Our flexible design, test and production facilities combine to present a compelling proposition that continues to win us key business within WATCHKEEPER."
Established in 2002 as the product of two synergistic organisations, Secure Computer Systems Ltd and Secure Systems Production Ltd, SST operates to ISO 9001 standards. Its comprehensive service set includes a dedicated engineering and test division, matched by consultancy and training facilities, majoring on COMSEC and EMSEC requirements.
SST's emphasis is on providing state of the art solutions from concept to deployment, with its design and development facilities backed up by a specialist service organisation. Combined with dynamic Service Partner Agreements, SST maintains full service coverage across the European and NATO theatres.
SST's success is substantially based on its long-standing ability to deliver a complete end-to-end service. This is achieved by working in partnership with its customers, major prime contractors and global IT product leaders – identifying and adapting current technologies, and creating individual solutions that meet a project's stringent requirements for data security.
A critical element of SST's philosophy involves managing obsolescence effectively, ensuring that customers receive lifetime product support. SST employs a high percentage of skilled staff comprising Subject Matter Experts, highly qualified consultant engineers, designers and expert technicians, operating from a purpose-built facility on the outskirts of Gloucester.