Bath-based engineering company Altran Praxis, in their news archive from the 8th July 2010, teamed up with arms company Thales, providing systems and safety expertise to get the UK Watchkeeper military/security surveillance drone in the air for its first testflight. From their website:
Altran Praxis completes critical milestone in safety system project for WATCHKEEPER Unmanned Air Vehicle
Altran Praxis provides Safety Case and Safety Support for first flight of WATCHKEEPER UAV
Altran Praxis, the international specialist in embedded and critical systems engineering, today announced the successful completion of a major milestone in its ongoing project to provide safety support to Thales UK for the WATCHKEEPER Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV).
WATCHKEEPER completed its first unmanned flight in UK airspace on 14 April 2010 at West Wales Airport near Aberporth. The first flight saw the vehicle complete a twenty minute flight from the airfield before landing successfully under automatic control.
The WATCHKEEPER project, which commenced in 2006, saw Altran Praxis take the lead on the system level safety engineering for the air vehicle, ground system and ancillary equipment, delivering safety programme management and human factors safety consultancy.
Once deployed, WATCHKEEPER will provide the UK armed forces with an essential Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability based on a tactical unmanned air vehicle (UAV) system and will be a key component of the UK’s drive for Network Enabled Capability (NEC).
Altran Praxis used its innovative electronic safety case technology to develop the safety case for the vehicle, minimising the cost and time of safety argument development and simplifying scrutiny by assessors and approvers for the WATCHKEEPER system.
“We’re pleased with the successful completion of WATCHKEEPER’s first UK flight here in the UK. Its development will deliver the UK armed forces with a key intelligence tool which will help increase capabilities during operations. Altran Praxis is a key member of our WATCHKEEPER programme team, bringing to the project its wealth of industry knowledge in safety engineering and management,” said Eddie Awang, WATCHKEEPER Programme Director, Thales UK. “Altran Praxis’ team of experts has been instrumental in building the safety case throughout the course of the project, enabling us to secure clearances for the first WATCHKEEPER unmanned flight in the UK.”
“The WATCHKEEPER flight is a major milestone in UAV development in the UK, and we are really pleased to have helped Thales achieve this. The delivery of a vehicle like WATCHKEEPER demands complex engineering, at the heart of which sits vital safety management which is essential in this advanced, unmanned vehicle,” said Keith Williams, Altran Praxis Managing Director. “Our embedded safety and critical systems engineering skills perfectly complement Thales UK’s capabilities, delivering practical benefits to UK military operations. We are extremely pleased to have partnered with Thales UK in the development of this complex and innovative project.”
The flight is the first milestone in a long-term programme to demonstrate that the WATCHKEEPER system meets the rigorous safety criteria required to fly UAVs initially in segregated airspace in the UK. 2010 will also see the opening of a WATCHKEEPER training facility based in Larkhill, and the continuation of the technical field trials at Parc Aberporth.
About Altran Praxis
Altran Praxis is a specialist systems and software house, focused on the engineering of systems with demanding safety, security or innovation requirements. Altran Praxis leads the world in specific areas of advanced systems engineering and innovation such as: ultra low defect software engineering, Human Machine Interface (HMI), safety engineering for complex or novel systems and tools (such as SPARK) /methods for systems engineering. It offers clients a range of services including turnkey systems development, consultancy, training and R&D. Key market sectors are aerospace and defence, rail, nuclear, air traffic management, automotive, medical and security. The company operates globally with active projects in the US, Asia and Europe. The headquarters of Altran Praxis are in Bath (UK) with offices in Sophia Antipolis, London, Paris, Loughborough and Bangalore. Altran Praxis is an expertise centre within, and wholly owned by, Altran which is a global leader in innovation engineering and employs 17,000 staff across the world.
About Thales and Thales UK
Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace and Space, Defence, Security and Transportation markets. In 2009 the company generated revenues of £11.5 billion (€12.9 billion) with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equip¬ment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners.
Thales UK employs 8,500 staff based at 40 locations. In 2009 Thales UK’s revenues were around £1.5 billion.
Tel: +44 (0) 203 1170884
Chrissie McGoldrick/Dan Howe
Speed (for Altran Praxis)
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