Watch­keeper re­ceives STDA from UK Mil­i­tary Aviation Au­thor­ity


Thales UK an­nounced that its Watch­keeper un­manned air sys­tem (UAS) has re­ceived a state­ment of type de­sign as­sur­ance (STDA) from the UK’s Mil­i­tary Aviation Au­thor­ity (MAA). The MAA’s STDA pro­vides as­sur­ance that the Watch­keeper air ve­hi­cle and soft­ware has reached an ac­cept­able level for de­sign safety and in­tegrity to meet the cur­rent stage of the sys­tem’s de­vel­op­ment. It is a key com­po­nent of the process that al­lows the UK’s Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) to con­tinue to­wards the ini­tial re­lease to ser­vice.

Watch­keeper is the first UAS to re­ceive such an STDA from the MAA, and rep­re­sents a ma­jor step for­ward for the ac­cep­tance of UASs in the airspace en­vi­ron­ment. This un­der­pins mil­i­tary fly­ing glob­ally in ap­pro­pri­ate airspace.

“The is­sue of a STDA from the MAA is a ma­jor mile­stone for the Watch­keeper pro­gramme, and a first for a UAS pro­gramme in the UK,” said Ed­die Awang, Vice Pres­i­dent of In­tel­li­gence, Sur­veil­lance and Re­con­nais­sance at Thales UK. “It is the re­sult of close col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the MOD and Thales UK, and the cul­mi­na­tion of a sig­nif­i­cant amount of work to build a com­pre­hen­sive safety case.”

The MAA is the in­de­pen­dent reg­u­la­tory au­thor­ity re­spon­si­ble for all as­pects of mil­i­tary air safety, and was formed in 2010 fol­low­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Had­don-Cave re­port.

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