UK and Israeli Drone Partnership
In the final week of october 2010 the UK MoD extended its contract to operate Israeli Hermes 450 surveillance drones in Afghanistan by a further eighteen months. The contract extension, with U-TacS , the Leicester-based company jointly owned by Elbit systems and Thales UK is worth $70 million according to Elbit. The UK, which has been operating the Hermes drones in Afghanistan since July 2007, is developing the Watchkeeper drone to replace the Hermes on a permanent basis.
Dr Liam Fox Said “Since October 2007, it has flown 1,344 sorties and since May 2008 employed 36 laser guided bombs and 84 Hellfire missiles in support of UK and coalition forces in Afghanistan”.
UAV Engines Ltd (UEL), based near Birmingham, has stated that it manufactures the engines for Hermes 450 UAVs (Unmanned Airborne Vehicles) produced by its parent company, Elbit Systems of Israel. Specifications displayed by Elbit Systems beside a Hermes 450 vehicle at a 2006 defence exhibition, of which we have photographs, also state that the Hermes 450 is powered by a ‘UEL AR-80-1010’ engine, made by UAV Engines Ltd. Hermes 450s are described by their manufacturer as
“the ‘backbone’ of Israeli army and air force ISTAR [Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition And Reconnaissance] missions”.
for more information check the report Convienient Killing, Armed Drones and the Playstation Mentality