The MoD has today placed a $5.1million order with Lockheed Martin for additional Desert Hawk III UAVs. Having already supplied around 100 systems to UK forces as part of a UOR for Afghanistan in 2007, this additional tranche is scheduled for delivery by the end of the year.
Although operating Desert Hawk looks similar to playing Call of Duty, this is a mean piece of kit which, according to Staff Sergeant Dan Gardner from 47 Regiment Royal Artillery,"has become indispensable to troops on the ground in Afghanistan".
Used in a variety of roles, including reconnaissance and surveillance of troops and patrols, Desert Hawk provides situational awareness to commanders of troops in contact with the enemy. One particularly valuable use to which it has been put has been spotting the Taliban as they lay IEDs. Desert Hawk is one of several systems which make up ISTAR, the tri-service intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance infrastructure.
As well as providing improved surveillance capability and all-weather operation, the latest variant will also include a 'more refined target position' system olr as the MoD spokesman said: "Desert Hawk's latest enhancements allow it to operate more effectively in difficult conditions and provide our soldiers with greater situational awareness in a very timely manner."
MoD: Upgraded surveillance aircraft arrive in Afghanistan
Lockheed Martin: Desert Hawk III