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Watchkeeper first flight

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Watchkeeper first flight

Old 22nd Apr 2010, 20:46
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Watchkeeper first flight

Surprised no-one has mentioned it so far....PICTURES: Watchkeeper UAV makes first UK flight

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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 20:49
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Woopie-Doo! We've built an Israeli Hermes 450 under licence with a few extra modifications. It's hardly a great moment for British Industry for us to reflect upon.

IMHO...
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 22:23
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Right, a triumph, given that we've used the H450 on ops for a little while now. But given Phoenix's noted ability in its secondary role of airborne entrenching tool (AET), Watchkeeper clearly has some additional work to do.

S41
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 22:27
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Once in the Vanguard,now in the Guard's Van!!
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Old 22nd Apr 2010, 22:59
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.... airborne entrenching tool ....
Pardon? Is that a squaddie giving his shovel a 'distance check' after a hot and unpleasant spell of trench digging?
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Old 23rd Apr 2010, 06:41
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What fuel does it run on?

The reason I ask is that I believe it has a Wankel engine, which are very difficult to design to run on heavy oil fuels (diesel, AVTUR, JET etc).

So if it can't burn standard NATO fuel, then does it have to have its own fuel logistics chain?

If it is a Wankel engine burning diesel, then it won't have a very long life and will not be very efficient.
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Old 23rd Apr 2010, 09:13
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MrBernoulli, it's a reference to the fact that the Phoenix drone is well-known for its ability to do its own thing, usually ending in a terminal dive. Hence an impromptu entrenching tool.... It was also nicknamed the 'F**koff', I understand, due to its reluctance to follow the drone operator's instructions...

New pongo drone flies. Oh good. Yup, not exactly in the same league of interest as Concorde's maiden flight 40+ years ago.....
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Old 23rd Apr 2010, 10:10
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[QUOTE][What fuel does it run on?
/QUOTE]

From the engine manufacturers site...Petrol
::UAV Engines Ltd: Products::
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Old 23rd Apr 2010, 10:46
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From the engine manufacturers site...Petrol
::UAV Engines Ltd: Products::
Thanks - I thought that would be the case. Not ideal, but I suppose if only small quantities are needed then it is manageable.
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Old 23rd Apr 2010, 12:53
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Aaah, Phoenix. I often used to fly a Chinny full of Phoenices from Basra to Al Amarah and on the return journey take a Chinny-full of Phoenix wreckage. Each one seemed to last only a few days before it flew itself into the ground. Perhaps the best was one that came off the launch rail with full nose-down pitch command. That'll be half a second in the logbook for some pongo.
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Old 23rd Apr 2010, 17:04
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There doesn't appear to be any de-icing systems on the leading edges (and by inference the prop). If I am correct, isn't that going to somewhat limit the operational scope?

Also the engine cooling air-intake is behind the gear - I would have thought not ideal for contaminated runway operations.

What sort of training do the gunner operators have before flying them? I'd have thought they would need a reasonable depth of aviation experience to operate them competently under IFR and in all weather, let alone in combat airspace.
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Old 23rd Apr 2010, 17:59
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Also the engine cooling air-intake is behind the gear - I would have thought not ideal for contaminated runway operations
I suspect that the engine intake will pick up icing before the leading edges or prop - that is usually the case on propeller aircraft. If the optical camera can be turned and focused on that air-intake, then I guess the operators will use that as their icing warning. It would depend on the focal accomodation of the optical system though.
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Old 23rd Apr 2010, 18:41
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Right, the best Phoenix story I saw was a video:

Some RA Maj / Lt Col was waaing on about how well it was going, and the power of the optics to some BBC type. Cpl driving it looks bored. Sgt supervising looks even more bored.

"And he we see it coming into the target area..."

Sgt looks confused. Cpl continues to look bored.

"And here's the optics zooming in...."

Sgt looks concerned. Cpl fighting all the controls.

"You see, it's like being there..."

(Phoenix in terminal dive.)

(Screen goes black)

Sgt slams door, BBC invited to leave....

Priceless!

S41
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