Elbit Systems was awarded a framework contract with a maximum value of approximately $410 million to supply up to 7 Watchkeeper X tactical unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to the Romanian Army, with a validity of five years. No specific purchase order was awarded yet. The Watchkeeper X UAS is the UK export variant of the British army made by U-TacS, Elbit’s UK subsidiary in cooperation with Thales, and is a derivative of the Hermes UAS family. Watchkeeper’s compatibility with NATO standards enables essential interoperability with NATO and other allied forces.
Bezalel (Butzi) Machlis, President and CEO of Elbit Systems, said that as part of the contract execution, Elbit plans to establish infrastructure and industrial cooperation with U-TacS, Aerostar and Elbit Systems’ subsidiaries in Romania to produce the UAS in Romania. Watchkeeper is based on Elbit’s Hermes 450 and is considered one of the biggest UAS European programs. Since the first flight in 2010, Watchkeeper has accumulated over 3,000 flying hours, including successful service in Afghanistan, where it played a crucial protective role for British troops.