Brits in Afghanistan have high praise for low-tech drones

Although the dominant intelligence story line for British forces in Afghanistan is the transition from the Hermes 450 to the Watchkeeper tactical unmanned aircraft system, the frontline troops are particularly keen on low-tech UAS platforms tailored to support specific missions, reports Aviation Week.

For example, the 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery uses Lockheed Martin's hand-launched Desert Hawk III to obtain full-motion video feeds of areas surrounding forward locations, and the Royal Engineers use Honeywell's T-Hawk vertical takeoff and landing UAV to assist with the removal of improvised explosive devices.

In addition, the British have seven Persistent Ground Surveillance System aerostats in their area of operations. The PGSS payload includes electro-optical and infrared sensors, which feed data into the base surveillance network known as Cortez, permitting drag-and-drop viewing of multiple intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance sources for a location.

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