Watchkeeper drone delayed again

Aviation Week is reporting that the Watchkeeper drones programme is delayed again.

Inititally expected to be in operation in June, 2010, Watchkeeper has been delayed and was under review by the government watchdog monitoring poor performance on contracts. But the government was able to help the contractors catch up by jettisoning or delaying one of the operational requirements for the drone.

In January 2012, however, there is still no sign of Watchkeeper being deployed. Aviation Week did not indicate why the programme was delayed, but attributed the news of the delay to an unnamed Ministry of Defense spokesman.

Watchkeeper was due in Afghanistan to replace drones leased from an Israeli company.

Watchkeeper has been criticised for being vastly overpriced. The billion pound price tag also supported an Israeli arms company, Elbit Systems, well known for providing services to the occupation forces in Palestine.

Watchkeeper was produced by a coventure between Elbit of Israel, and Thales of France.

Watchkeeper flying near Parc Aberporth, Wales

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