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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System

Volume 401: debated on Friday 14 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the operational, technical and political benefits are to the UK of acquiring the planned unmanned aerial vehicle system; and if he will make a statement on the system's inter-operability with that of the Israeli Army. [101213]

The general benefits of the Watchkeeper system, to which I assume my hon. Friend refers, comprising Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, their sensor packages and associated exploitation facilities, were outlined in my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence's written statement to the House on 7 February 2003, Official Report, columns 21 -22 WS. We expect to select a single successful Watchkeeper contractor by mid-2004. On interoperability, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) on 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 312W. This indicated that our primary focus is on interoperability with NATO allies.