RUSI Defence SystemsVOLUME 22members only

From Multirole to Modularity


Main Image Credit Watchkeeper WK450 UAV of the British Army at Farnborough International Airshow 2010. (Licence: Wikimedia Commons)


Three decades of low-intensity warfare has led to the development of numerous exquisite platforms, bristling with capability, but their cost makes them scarce, and consequently vulnerable. Generating mass and resilience requires federating capabilities.

The British Army’s WK450 Watchkeeper is a highly capable UAV. With 17 hours endurance, and the ability to operate 150 km from its ground control station, the platform provides a command post with a combination of high-fidelity ground moving target indication (GMTI) radar and electro-optical sensors. It is a flexible ISR asset that can scan a large area at reach, and then investigate what it finds.  The Watchkeeper is also a contradiction. A GMTI radar on a UAV flying at

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WRITTEN BY

Dr Jack Watling

Research Fellow, Land Warfare

Military Sciences

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