Originally developed by Lockheed Martin as a force protection airborne surveillance system under a U.S. Air Force contract, the Desert Hawk UAS offers autonomous intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities, including terrain avoidance and dynamic flight plan re-tasking. It is a lightweight, compact system that requires only two people to operate The U.S. Air Force owns 21 Desert Hawk systems, including 126 air vehicles, which are currently deployed in the Middle East.
Under the UK contract, Lockheed Martin will provide new Desert Hawk systems in addition to upgrading the UK’s existing fleet to the new build standard. Capabilities of the new standard include enhanced plug and play electro-optics, infrared color or black/white electro-optical imager payloads, ground control stations, remote video terminals, field repair kits, and global positioning satellite tracking and location capabilities. The contract also defines provisions for spares and technical support. Future options include electro-optical turrets. The air vehicles are scheduled for delivery to the British Army in March 2006.
“Lockheed Martin’s whole systems approach to unmanned systems allows our customers to achieve sustainable force protection,” said Richard Ambrose, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Maritime Systems & Sensors Tactical Systems business unit. “We are proud to provide this capability to allied front-line troops engaged in the global war on terror.”
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 135,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2005 sales of $37.2 billion.
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