In the late 1990s, British Army operators became so frustrated with the performance limitations and high accident rate affecting their Phoenix unmanned air vehicles that they nicknamed the type the "Bugger off", due to its tendency to not return from reconnaissance missions being flown over Kosovo.

While the type's contribution of 138 missions during the second Gulf War in Iraq in 2003 was valued by commanders, 23 of the 89 air vehicles deployed were lost or damaged beyond repair, with the majority of incidents caused by technical problems linked to operating in a high-temperature region.

Watchkeeper UAV

Crown Copyright

The first Watchkeeper air vehicle performed flight testing in Israel

The full article is exclusively available to read for FG Club members.

(n.b. Pro users can sign into the FG Club with their existing details)

Source: Flight International