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Phoenix

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.

Specifications

Country of Origin UK
Builder
Role
Similar Aircraft
Wing Span 5.5m
Length
Height
Weight 177 kgs
Engine
Maximum speed
Cruising speed
Flight Radius 50 kms
Service Ceiling 2700m (9000 ft)
Cost
User Countries
Quantities eight troops (two batteries each with three flight troops and two flight troops at the Royal School of Artillery) with a total of 198 UAVs and support equipment Ground Data Terminal (GDT) and Ground Control System (DCS), Launchers, Recovery Vehicles, Resupply Vehicles - Troop Command Post (TCP)
Total Costs 259.4 million (estimated)
In-Service Date (ISD) December 1998
Complete Regimental Conversion Training July 1998
Achieve Maintenance Reserve status October 1998
Complete Flight Section Refurbishment February 2000
Complete War Maintenance Reserve Air Vehicle deliveries January 2001
Transfer to Defence Logistics Organisation April 2001

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