LONDON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin is to support Britain's Desert Hawk III unmanned aerial vehicles and establish them as a core defensive capability for the country's military.
Desert Hawk III is a small drone from the company's Skinks Work team and was used by British Army forces in Afghanistan for enhanced situational awareness, security and counter-IED operations, threat detection, route reconnaissance and battle damage assessment.
"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 Program, 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 III is battery powered, weighs 8 pounds and can fly for 90 minutes with a 2-pound payload.
Lockheed Martin recently upgraded Desert Hawk III through longer endurance, updated sensor payloads and operation using the company's mobile ground control system.
"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," said Defense Secretary Philip Dunne.
"We recognize that unmanned and remotely piloted air systems are increasingly important in today's operational environment, and our protected Defense budget and £160 billion (about $248 billion) investment in equipment has allowed us to bring Desert Hawk into our core program."
Lockheed Martin did not disclose the value of the Ministry of Defense contract.