Phoenix is a real time surveillance and target acquisition Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) designed to integrate with the Battlefield Artillery Target Engagement System (BATES) and indirect fire weapon systems against depth targets. The Phoenix UAV is an all weather, day or night, real time surveillance and target acquisition system. Pheonix's surveillance suite is datalinked to a ground station which, in turn, transmits the intelligence gathered directly to artillery command posts. The Phoenix UAV is almost entirely made from Kevlar, glass fibre, carbon reinforced plastics and Nomex honeycomb; and is powered by a 25hp two stroke flat twin engine. The UAV can be launched within an hour of reaching launch site. Up to 2 UAV's can be controlled from the same ground contol station. Phoenix is operated by the Royal Artillery.
The contract for Phoenix was placed in 1985 against an In Service Date (ISD) of 1989. This original ISD slipped continuously and, in March 1995, the Equipment Approvals Committee ordered an Agreed Program of Work (APW) to be established and a study into alternative systems. The study concluded that, although there were several UAV systems that came close to matching the requirement, none did so as closely as Phoenix. A major contract amendment was negotiated with GMAeS and, in September 1996, Ministerial approval was secured to return to contract against an ISD of December 1998. At the time of return to contract it was hoped to bring Phoenix into service in mid-1998, but some technical difficulties, together with the need for a comprehensive Safety Statement and a Military Aircraft Release, resulted in exact alignment with the endorsed ISD.
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