France still considering Anglo-Israeli Watchkeeper drone

Defense News reported this week that units of the French army plan to work with the Anglo-Israeli Watchkeeper drone in Afghanistan, if the new addition to the UK drone fleet is deployed there. French artillery officers are working with Watchkeeper as it is being introduced in the UK’s Salisbury Plain training area. (They are also expected to train with Watchkeeper crews in the Suffield training area in Alberta, Canada later in 2014).

Elements of the French army want the defence minister to acquire Watchkeeper, but that would likely depend on Britain acquiring French armoured combat vehicles.

Watchkeeper was built for the UK by Thales of France and Elbit Systems of Israel, based on the Hermes 450 drone. The latter has been ‘conflict tested’ in the repression of the West Bank and the attacks on Gaza.

For background search other posts on wanderingraven.wordpress.com

For detailed background of European drone policy see this report by Statewatch.

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