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Elbit Systems UK and MoD begin talks on Watchkeeper MLE upgrade

25th January 2022 - 09:47 GMT | by Tim Martin in London

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The Watchkeeper tactical UAV had been troubled by reliability issues. (Photo: British Army)

Talks have begun on a mid-life extension (MLE) upgrade for the UK's Watchkeeper tactical UAV.

Elbit Systems UK and the UK MoD have held ‘early conversations’ on a Watchkeeper tactical UAV mid-life extension (MLE) upgrade to include payload enhancements, according to Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK.

The upgrade itself was originally confirmed last March in the UK’s Defence Command Paper and Shephard understands it will lead to the life of the aircraft being extended to 2033, pending a full business case set to be assessed by the Army Investment Committee in 2023.  

Improved communications and integration of Watchkeeper within the British Army’s Land ISTAR programme will also fall under the MLE.

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