> our title:

UK MoD Orders Black Hornet and Desert Hawk UAVs

> original title:

Surveillance and Intelligence Systems Contracts Announced

(Source: UK Ministry of Defense; issued Sept 17, 2015)


A British soldier prepares to launch a Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk UAV during an exercise in the UK. Desert Hawk has already been fielded in Afghanistan and has now attained Full Operational Capability. (UK MoD photo)


The MoD is bringing two Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) used to protect troops in Afghanistan into its core equipment programme.

Contracts worth approximately £23M have been placed for the Black Hornet and Desert Hawk 3 systems, which were used on operations to provide surveillance and intelligence for troops on the ground.

Both systems are unmanned. The Black Hornet, which is palm-sized, provided real-time video and snapshot images while Desert Hawk 3, which is battery-powered and weighs only 8lbs (3.6kg), gathers intelligence, and provides reconnaissance and surveillance.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne said:

“Black Hornet and Desert Hawk proved their worth in Afghanistan, providing essential intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to our troops. The introduction of Black Hornet was a significant milestone in the development of our unmanned aerial systems as we were the first nation to use a rapidly deployable “nano” UAS solution for our Armed Forces.

“Unmanned and remotely-piloted air systems are increasingly important in today’s operational environment and our protected Defence budget and £160 billion equipment plan has allowed us to bring both Black Hornet and Desert Hawk into our core programme.”

Chief of Materiel (Air) at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support Organisation, Air Marshal Simon Bollom, said:

“This is a world-class capability and tremendous asset providing local situational awareness to troops on the ground. Therefore, bringing these proven systems into core will provide our Armed Forces with an invaluable addition to their surveillance and intelligence gathering operations.”

MOD recently awarded a contract extension to Marlborough Communications Limited to support Black Hornet through to its Out of Service Date in 2017, while Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training has also been awarded a contract to support the Desert Hawk 3 programme. Both achieved Full Operating Capability (FOC) last month.

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Lockheed Martin Awarded Desert Hawk 3 Contract from U.K. Ministry of Defence

(Source: Lockheed Martin; issued Sept 17, 2015)

LONDON --- The U.K. Ministry of Defence has awarded Lockheed Martin (LMT) a contract to support the Desert Hawk 3 programme and establish the small unmanned aerial system (UAS) as a Core Defence Capability.

"Desert Hawk has served the U.K. military well in providing intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance to tactical warfighters," said Jay McConville, Lockheed Martin director of business development for Unmanned Solutions. "We look forward to continuing this record of success through the award of the Desert Hawk Core Support Programme, and we continue to enhance its capabilities based on user feedback. Desert Hawk's maturity and proven performance, as well as the enhanced capabilities now available, make it a crucial asset on the modern battlefield."

Desert Hawk 3 has flown more than 30,000 hours, mostly under austere conditions, to support critical mission needs such as enhanced situational awareness, security and counter-IED operations, threat detection, route reconnaissance and battle damage assessment.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne said: "Desert Hawk has proved its worth on operations in Afghanistan, providing our Armed Forces with vital intelligence and allowing our commanders to stay one step ahead of the enemy. We recognise that unmanned and remotely-piloted air systems are increasingly important in today's operational environment, and our protected Defence budget and £160 billion investment in equipment has allowed us to bring Desert Hawk into our core programme."

The battery-powered Desert Hawk 3 is designed for portability, ruggedness, rapid employment and reliability. The hand-launched system weighs only 8 lbs. (3.6 kg) and can fly for up to 90 minutes with a 2-lb. (0.91 kg) payload. Recently the U.K. Desert Hawk 3 was upgraded to a digital data link achieving Ministry of Defence Full Operational Capability on schedule.

Lockheed Martin recently upgraded Desert Hawk 3 to the Desert Hawk 3.1 configuration by providing simplified launch, deep stall landing, all-environment capability, longer endurance, updated sensor payloads and operation using Lockheed Martin's mobile ground control system. Desert Hawk 3.1 is a modification kit to a Desert Hawk 3 configuration.

With five decades of experience in unmanned and robotic systems for air, land and sea, Lockheed Martin's unmanned systems are engineered to help our military, civil and commercial customers accomplish their most difficult challenges today and in the future.


Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's net sales for 2014 were $45.6 billion.

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