Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (British Army)

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Good point as it has been reported that Israel has implemented the capability already on an earlier Apache version
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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by Lugzy »

ArmChairCivvy wrote:Good point as it has been reported that Israel has implemented the capability already on an earlier Apache version
I Found this video which covers what we were talking about rather well .


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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

I think Lugzy's find above well demonstrates the ConOps that will be a must have. And w/o the Predator (from outside of theatre) and WK (within the theatre) kind of support, from distance, there would be a link missing (and without their kind of persistence it would be missing anyway, so the Protector upgrade is v welcome).

We are not the only ones who have the capability (not procured yet, but tested in the UK, France and Korea) to create UAV-free bubbles of up to 8km in radius (elevation not specified!).

http://defencetechnologyreview.realview ... 7#folio=18
- about a year ago Russia announced a similar hi-frequency weapon with a claimed effective reach of 10km
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

WK is only just making it into service, but does not tick many boxes for what the US Army Aviation chief says about next-gen:

"“I don’t want to be on runways anymore” Lundy said. A future drone in the same class as the Gray Eagle, he said, “needs to have a VTOL capability. We’ve got to be able to push it forward with units. It can’t be sitting at an airfield four hours away.” He also listed two other key requirements: “It’s got to be survivable, so we’ve go to reduce the signature. And we’ve got to reduce how many people it takes to run it.” A future Gray Eagle replacement, he added, would need to carry similar payloads and have similar range. “I’m not real concerned about the speed,” Lundy said. “Those are the key requirements – both for our large UAS and for our tactical.”"
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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Pseudo
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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by Pseudo »

If the US sees VTOL as the future of UAS that's got to be good news for the QEC as it would seem to put a big dent any case for a mid-life CATOBAR conversion.

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by The Armchair Soldier »

From Tony Osborne of Aviation Week at the International Military Helicopter conference: Watchkeeper is apparently being used at Ascension Island.

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by shark bait »

And no air space issues...
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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

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Yes, it was planned. 43 Battery had a deployment to Ascension in its schedule since late last year. Not sure how long it'll last, but it was expected to be a "long" period.

10 Bty and 74 Bty are the other two units working up to use Watchkeeper. In other words, Joint Force 2025 puts 3 Watchkeeper batteries into 47 Regiment RA, and moves the regiment under Joint Helicopter Command due to air vehicle requirements and safety considerations. Desert Hawk and T-Hawk go all into 32 Regiment RA.
That's the end of the combined "campaign" batteries that supported enduring ops in Afghanistan.
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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

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And there goes another export chance...

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by JayDee »

No VBIC for army then?

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by RetroSicotte »

If they make do on that Terrier buy maybe it'll be considered, but France just completely spiked the informal thought of Watchkeeper/Terrier for VBCI.

What with this, their messing around with what was once Telemos/Eurpopean UAVs, their foot dragging on Sea Venom...I am increasingly wondering why we do business with this country again.

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by shark bait »

I agree, it has moved under Joint Helicopter Command which is better, but the ground support it needs significant, and looks better suited to the AAC.

Perhaps that would drive an effort to arm them with LLM too?
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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by shark bait »

My suggestion is if they were moved to the AAC perhaps there would be a drive to use them in more roles. Its a very expensive and capable system that could pick up more roles beyond spotting.
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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by shark bait »

Yes that is a perfectly reasonable mode of operation.

Their exists options to add more modes, enhancing the platforms flexibility. We already have watchkeeper and we already have LLM, why not put them together, to shorten the information chain and have the spotter prosecute the target directly. Just another option that I cant help but think would be useful for conflicts like the one we are in right now. It would be a much more efficient way to gather intel and blow up machine guns and diggers. It would of course require a forward operating air strip of course.
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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by RetroSicotte »

arfah wrote:Adding ordnance and stores would reduce the endurance, availability and fatigue life of the airframe.

Spot a target and let GMLRS sort it out.
Cost of GLMRS round to cost of LMM?

Moving targets?

High collateral chance?

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

arfah wrote:Not likely to bump into anything there.
Yeah, they so expensive that we keep hiring the base model for operational work:
"Thales UK is now operating three Hermes 900 as part of the United Nations (UN) Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali. A three year contract had been signed back in December and holds options for a further two years"

Or. are we building up the force, through training which is expensive in itself, so slowly that it pays to keep the contracted team together?
- 3+2 years?
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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Re: Thales Watchkeeper WK450 (Army)

Post by RetroSicotte »

Is that even the UK though? It says "Thales UK" in the source, but nothing on the UK being the ones to actually hire them for their forces.

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