Lockheed Martin has announced that the U.K. Ministry of Defence has awarded the company 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.