Lola Composites is the manufacturer of the fuselage and wings for Britain’s Watchkeeper drones, at its plant at Glebe Road, St Peters Road, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. (Umeco Composites, a division of Advanced Composites, of Derbyshire, is also involved in the manufacturing process for the Watchkeeper drone),
The Watchkeeper drone is an updated version of the Hermes 450, produced by Elbit Systems.
Lola Composites takes credit for advanced engineering in creating these new parts for the Watchkeeper drone, yet it isn’t clear why the Watchkeeper needed redesigned parts, which must have added substantially to the cost. Comparison of photos of Watchkeeper and Hermes 450 show few externally obvious design changes.
Lola has also worked on the BAE drone project Mantis, the Taranis ‘intercontinental’ stealth drone, and an underwater unmanned vehicle known as Talisman.
The much delayed Watchkeeper is due to be released to British forces in Afghanistan in early 2012, however there is no indication as yet whether this new objective will be met.