The Thales UK Watchkeeper Unmanned Air System (UAS) has received a Statement of Type Design Assurance (STDA) from the UK’s Military Aviation Authority (MAA).
The MAA’s STDA provides assurance that the Watchkeeper air vehicle and software has reached an acceptable level for design safety and integrity to meet the current stage of the system’s development. It is a key component of the process that allows the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) to continue towards the initial Release To Service (RTS).
Watchkeeper is the first UAS to receive such an STDA from the MAA, and represents a major step forward for the acceptance of UASs in the airspace environment. This underpins military flying globally in appropriate airspace.
“The issue of a Statement of Type Design Assurance from the MAA is a major milestone for the Watchkeeper programme, and a first for a UAS programme in the UK” said Eddie Awang, Vice President of Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance at Thales UK. “It is the result of close collaboration between the MOD and Thales UK, and the culmination of a significant amount of work to build a comprehensive safety case”.
The MAA is the independent regulatory authority responsible for all aspects of military air safety, and was formed in 2010 following the recommendations of the Haddon-Cave report.