Desert Hawk Comes Up Big for British Army
Lockheed Martin’s small unmanned aircraft system stars at Empire Challenge and in new Royal Artillery Museum exhibit
For a small unmanned aircraft, Lockheed Martin’s Desert Hawk III is making a big impact with the British Army.
Deployed by British forces since 2006 in Iraq and Afghanistan, Desert Hawk demonstrated the utility of its latest electronic warfare payload in early June at the U.S. Joint Forces Command’s Empire Challenge 2011 conducted in Arizona. Then on June 16 in London, Desert Hawk was one of the stars in the opening of the Firepower, The Royal Artillery Museum’s newest exhibit.
During Empire Challenge, a multinational exercise which evaluates new intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, Desert Hawk recorded a 100 percent mission completion rate of 37 sorties. It demonstrated new electronic support concepts and capabilities desired by the British Army based on their experiences flying Desert Hawk.
The eight-pound Desert Hawk features an open architecture environment and consists of a light weight, hand-launched, ruggedized aircraft with snap-on plug and play payloads, including 360-degree infrared and electro-optical payloads, a portable ground control station and a remote video terminal. The new payload integrates seamlessly into existing Desert Hawk systems.
“The DH III is a fantastic bit of kit,” said Staff Sgt. Leighton Davies, 47th Regiment Royal Artillery, in a June 7 article on Empire Challenge in defensemedianetwork. ”It’s a company commander’s asset that he has with him at all times. It’s a quick reaction launch that we can get up in the air with a trained team in 5-7 minutes with a good turnaround time. We conduct both day and night flights with both IR/EO that provides a really good capability. Company commanders and troops are now reluctant to go out on the ground without having something up. This is an ideal asset because it’s constantly there.”
Firepower, The Royal Artillery Museum also featured Desert Hawk III. The air vehicle was inducted by the Chief of Defence Staff as part of a new exhibition focusing on the men and woman of the Royal Artillery who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Desert Hawk III exhibit includes a full-size model and a new interactive kiosk that provides information, photographs and videos.