British defence firms Draken Europe and Elbit Systems UK have announced the signing of a strategic cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the area of Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS), to address the growing market interest in the use of uncrewed systems to support contractor-operated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Image courtesy Elbit Systems
Set against an international backdrop of intensifying homeland and border security challenges, as part of the MoU, Elbit Systems UK and Draken will work together as manufacturer and operator, identifying opportunities that exploit Elbit Systems UK’s range of advanced UAS aircraft, including the Hermes StarLiner, the world’s first Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAS to be certified for civil aviation.
Paul Armstrong, CEO at Draken Europe, said: “At Draken, we have a long history of operating special missions, Search and Rescue operations and ISR sorties on behalf of government customers internationally.
"The development of civil aviation-compliant uncrewed systems is a natural next step in this sector and our cooperation with Elbit Systems UK gives us a partnership with a manufacturer that benefits from decades of proven operational experience and a flexible approach, willing to adapt its systems to meet evolving end-customer requirements.”
Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK, commented: “Elbit Systems UK has extensive experience in delivering best-in-class and proven UAS Platforms such as Skylark 3 and Starliner, and this MoU represents an opportunity for us to share our expertise and pedigree.
"We will leverage our manufacturing knowledge and high technology in conjunction with Draken’s service experience to deliver an efficient and productive collaboration, supporting the delivery of advanced ISR services.”
Elbit Systems UK has a proven and extensive UAS portfolio including fully integrated fixed wing and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) systems in multiple classes. The company has been a systems integrator for UAS, including mini and tactical systems, since 1996.
Draken Europe has over 35 years’ experience as a trusted partner to the UK Government and its strategic allies, with a strong heritage and a history of successful delivery of complex, highly regulated aviation services internationally. These include contracted aggressor training services that prepare frontline UK and NATO forces to defend themselves from attack, and specialist ISR services that support a range of data-gathering operations such as maritime surveillance and environmental monitoring.
Elbit Systems UK Ltd. holds three wholly owned subsidiaries as well as two joint ventures. In total, over 600 personnel are employed by the Elbit Systems UK companies in the UK, in high tech roles in the defence, aerospace and rail sectors.
The two joint ventures were formed in order to deliver the Watchkeeper programme for the British Army and to supply and support three fleets of aircraft within the UK MOD Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) programme. Elbit Systems UK is an established supplier to the UK Armed Forces, participating in several major Defence programmes such as Morpheus and MEWSIC Increment 1, and delivering the Dismounted Joint Fires Integrator and Joint Fires Synthetic Trainer.