Watchkeeper’s range and endurance – and its combination of electro-optical, infrared and radar sensors – allow both point and wide-area surveillance in all weathers, and even in zero-visibility.


Watchkeeper can gather vital information on the whereabouts of potential threats, non-combatants and friendly forces. It also supports route reconnaissance, identifying possible threat locations and providing detailed terrain information.

Information operations

Watchkeeper gathers and transmits imagery for information operations – for example, details of collateral damage or hostile actions.

Target acquisition

Watchkeeper can identify and pinpoint targets, and, when appropriate, control or cue military action. Its sensors and laser subsystem provide accurate target location data to support precision assets, and can mark targets for ground forces.


Situational awareness

Watchkeeper can transmit high quality images and video securely and reliably to numerous locations, giving commanders information and Image Intelligence (IMINT) that greatly enhances situational awareness.


A Unique Platform for Performance

The Watchkeeper Unmanned Aircraft System is built to the same exacting standards as manned aircraft, and is modular in design, so it can be adapted and upgraded for specific operational requirements.
Rapid transportation and deployment

Transportable by air, land and sea in a protective, international standard container, Watchkeeper assembles and disassembles fast, and can take off and land from prepared or semi-prepared airstrips.

Robust, safe and reliable

Watchkeeper is built to CS23/STANAG 4671 airworthiness certification standards. It is operable in zero visibility, harsh weather conditions and extreme temperatures. It has a unique de-icing system that detects and eradicates any build-up of ice, keeping it fully operational.

Fully autonomous mission system, take-off and landing

The Watchkeeper system has fully autonomous mission control and Autonomous Take off and Landing System (ATOLS), which minimises operator burden, and reduces manning and training costs. Its on-board autonomous emergency logic includes lost-link and glide to pre-programmed emergency landing sites.

Future-proof, with extensive growth potential

Watchkeeper’s modular design enables future growth potential to maintain pace with changing technology and threat changes. A number of packages are available that can be tailored to user requirements.

World Leading Technology

The Watchkeeper’s Ground Control Station is its primary mission-planning, command and control interface, and can operate independently or as part of a C4I network. Missions are not mutually exclusive, and Watchkeeper can be dynamically re-tasked while airborne.

Watchkeeper carries the very latest optical and radar systems. Payload configurations include HD electro/optical, infrared and laser capabilities, to allow observation, recognition and transmission – and precision location accuracy – at any time of day or night, and in extreme weather conditions.

The Thales I-Master Radar performs both Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in strip-map and spotlight modes, and supports high quality ground mapping. The Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) can detect and track moving targets.
Thales Group - watchkeeper at Paris Air Show
Thales Group - Watchkeeper flying over Aberporth
Thales Group - Watchkeeper - Soldier undertaking pre-flight checks
Thales Group - Watchkeeper flying over Aberporth

Watchkeeper Support

Thales UK is the Prime Contractor and Design Authority for the UK Watchkeeper UAS, which is the largest UAS contract in Europe. The Watchkeeper UAS provides persistent, timely and accurate ISTAR to commanders 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The fully network-enabled system will serve the UK Armed Forces for the next 30 years.

Watchkeeper is the first UAS to be awarded a full Release To Service (RTS), and is the only UAS of its type allowed to fly in UK airspace. The RTS follows rigorous safety and airworthiness reviews to ensure the system can be operated safely by the British Army.

Watchkeeper service

Operational Services

Thales Airborne ISR Services provide focused data and information to help customers make timely, better-informed decisions. We collect, interpret and securely send information in the most appropriate formats, using the most appropriate platforms, sensors and communication channels.
These ISR capability services apply to the Watchkeeper UAS. According to each customer’s specification and operational requirements, Thales provides scalable solutions, including the Watchkeeper system’s entire range of equipment, operational staff, training, maintenance and logistics. This ensures continuous system availability and fully focused ISR information.


Thales provides classroom, simulation and live training to suit every operational requirement. All training is computer-aided and instructor-led. A full virtual simulated training environment develops both technical and tactical training with After Action Review (AAR), and a Part Task Trainer gives practical maintenance training.

Watchkeeper X

Thales Group - watchkeeper X
Watchkeeper X is an unmanned aircraft system Designed for a wide range of military and homeland security mission requirements
The system delivers intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capability, operating in extreme and challenging environments to collect, exploit and distribute vital information efficiently.

Watchkeeper X is a fully airworthy, certified, unmanned aircraft system that can be adapted to your exact needs through the right choice in sensors, exploitation, mobility and effectors options. These options can be selected and inserted throughout the lifetime of the system.

Central to the effectiveness of this certified high-performance unmanned aircraft system is the aircraft. It has an impressive 16hrs+ endurance; operating at ranges in excess of 140km with maximum transit speed of 95knots. When operating multiple aircraft with the system you can achieve 24/7 surveillance, operating at any range.

Designed to be tailored to your exact needs through our unique packages


Provides the vital eyes and ears of the system to deliver the best intelligence to your mission. Watchkeeper X operates as a multi-mission airborne surveillance system.

The selection of the right sensors for your missions is key to operational success. Our dual sensor payload capability delivers true flexibility to your missions and offers a future roadmap for enhancements to your system. Thanks to the standardised 15” gimble design and onboard power management, sensors are interchangeable with each other. Types of sensors available for Watchkeeper X are cameras, radar, communication intelligence, communications electronic support measures as well as seamless dual sensor cross cueing.
During any mission, putting intelligence to maximum use, delivers success.Primary role of the Unmanned Aircraft System is to collect as much data as much as possible about your environment. The ability to turn that data into information and disseminate it to the right person, at the right time is a critical feature of your system. With the Watchkeeper X, real time and post flight analysis tools allow you to extract even more intelligence from your captured data. You can share vital information directly to teams on the ground in near real time and wider operating parties connected to your existing networks. Critical decision making requires accurate and timely information, which Watchkeeper X delivers.
A highly mobile system to operate in challenging and hostile environments.Watchkeeper X is a tactical Unmanned Aircraft System. It can be deployed anywhere, anytime and can be operational within two hours of arriving at a location. The core design of Watchkeeper X enables expeditionary and out-of- area operations. It can be transported by a variety of vehicle types and offers a highly mobile and robust solution to ensure rapid deployment.
The system is not reliant on fixed infrastructure such as airfields and therefore allows flexibility in deployment. Our fully mobile solution minimises the need for large equipment holdings as the complete system can be moved to the area it is needed and have an immediate positive effect.
The decision to engage a target requires accurate and timely intelligence. Watchkeeper X gives you confidence to deliver.
Watchkeeper X provides effective surveillance, identification and targeting with pin point accuracy. The targeting information can be issued to other assets in your mission for engagement.
This requires integrated communications and precision information to be delivered. For time sensitive targets, the information is used to engage directly using onboard systems
to deliver an immediate effect. Effectors are all about making the right choice at the right time using all the information available. The options Watchkeeper X give you mean you can engage in a way that meets your exact requirements.
Watchkeeper X is built to the same standards as a manned aircraft, and conforms to CAA/MAA standards. It is designed to be a highly mobile tactical capability system offering 24/7 surveillance.

Robust, safe and reliable
Watchkeeper X is built to CS23/STANAG 4671 airworthiness certification standards, and can operate in zero visibility, harsh weather conditions and extreme temperatures.

Fully autonomous mission system, take-off and landing
Watchkeeper X has a fully autonomous mission control and automated take off and landing system, which reduces manning and training costs and makes it simple to deploy.

Watchkeeper X has an extensive range of options to keep pace with changing technology and threat changes in the future. The modular approach to its design means you can add capability now and enhance capability in the future.

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