DSEI: Desert Hawk drone soars in London

Drone Desert Hawk appeared at DSEI without any pomp and circumstance, but its performance speaks for itself. Lockheed walked away with yet another contract for this steadfast favorite.

The UK Ministry of Defence awarded Lockheed Martin a six-year contract for the Desert Hawk 3.1.

The British military has regularly deployed the rugged, lightweight Desert Hawk UAV in combat.  Overall, this hard-working UAV has flown more than 30,000 hours on operations performing recon, counter-IED and other tasks.

Designed to be easy to carry in a rucksack, this UAV can be launched by hand.

Robust and waterproof, its smart design means it is rapidly deployable. The Desert Hawk III only weighs 8.2 pounds. It can fly a mission 1.5 hours long. Its cruising speed is 25 knots and it can dash at 50 if necessary. Size-wise, its wingspan is 59 inches.

The latest variant features even greater operational range, endurance and altitude. It also tolerates wind even better and can operate in extreme temperatures

A great choice for covert operations with its quiet acoustic signature, Desert Hawk provides warfighters with persistent surveillance. Flying during the day or at night, it can provide critical data to troops. Forces can deploy it to detect, recognize and identify a target.

How do you fly it?

Incredibly easy to operate, it can be assembled, mission-planned and launched in under 10 minutes.

Using the portable ground station, the human operator can give the drone its instructions. Once launched, the drone can then proceed to fly itself on the mission and land itself. Desert Hawk is equipped with tech that allows it to automatically avoid problematic terrain and collisions.

The drone feeds back real time data to the warfighters on the ground. Mid-flight while on a mission, the operator can issue a new mission and task the drone to adapt and meet the new requirements.

While in flight, the operator can use the station to control the drone’s optical and infrared sensors. It has a gyro-stabilized 360-degree sensor turret, color and low light electro-optical plus infrared full motion video integrated camera systems. Its infrared sensor is roll-stabilized.

Desert Hawk IV

Desert Hawk IV features even more upgrades and can be launched by a single operator while he or she is standing, kneeling or even lying on the ground.

This fourth variant still weighs 8.2 pounds, but it features a longer endurance of 2.5 hours. This latest Desert Hawk excels in challenging conditions like whiteouts, steady rain, winds over 50 mph and heavy snow.

Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. You can reach her at wargames@foxnews.com or follow her on Twitter @Allison_Barrie.