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Romania to Add Three Watchkeeper X UAVs to its Inventory

Romania to Add Three Watchkeeper X UAVs to its Inventory

Israeli defence company Elbit Systems announced on June 21 at the Paris Air Show that it received an order from Romania to purchase the first three of seven planned Watchkeeper X reconnaissance drones. The contract's first phase with the Romanian Ministry of National Defence is valued at 180 million US dollars. The sale is part of a $410-million framework agreement signed by the Romanian Ministry of National Defence in December 2022. Elbit will produce the surveillance drone in Romania in cooperation with its Romanian and British subsidiaries, including infrastructure and industrial collaboration. Elbit Systems will provide an upgraded version of Watchkeeper X UAVs. The system will have Spectro XR multi-spectral electro-optical payload and new communications capabilities. Watchkeeper X is the export variant of the Thales Watchkeeper WK450 which was developed from the Hermes 450 drone for the Royal British Army to conduct intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance missions. In appearance, the Watchkeeper X is similar to the WK450 but uses newer sensors, including modernized communications and improved radar.  The Watchkeeper X also has underwing hardpoints for carrying external fuel tanks and light weapons such as the Free Fall Light Multirole Missile (FF-LMM) precision-guided munition.

FNSS