• Review: UAV Watchkeeper

    UAV Watchkeeper

    Publisher: First Class Sim

    Review Author:
    Raymond Andersen

    Suggested Price:
    $29.00

    Buy Here

    The Watchkeeper is a V-tail, high winged, single engine, unmanned aerial vehicle built for the British Army by a joint venture company UAV Tactical Systems (U-TacS). It is designated WK450 and is based on the Israeli Elbit Hermes 450. The aircraft features a Wankel propeller engine that easily can push the IAS to the limit of 95 knots at sea level.

    54 Watchkeepers are already ordered for delivery to the British Army for a total contract sum of £800 million which equals to an approximate unit price of £15 million. The mission that the Watchkeepers are built to fly is ISTAR missions, which is Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance missions.

    The fuselage is 6.10 m long and the wingspan is 10.50 m. The MTOW is 450 kg with a payload of 150 kg and the Watchkeeper is built for flying for 14-16 hours or more depending on the given circumstances. The service ceiling is limited to 16,000 feet due to the engine and the max IAS is 95 knots at sea level while the cruise IAS is 75-90 knots at 13,000 feet. Total range is 150 km without satellite covering.

    Specs:

    • Produced by U-TacS
    • First flight April 2008
    • Introduction 2011
    • Role: ISTAR aircraft
    • Status: Active
    • Built: 54+
    • Unit costs: £15 million (2011)
    • Primary user: British Army

    I downloaded this add-on aircraft from FSPilotShop and the download went quickly and with ease - the download file is just about 76 Mb. The installation was also as I expected, very quick and easy. I just activated the installation wizard and after only a few seconds the complete add-on was installed and ready for flight. The installation wizard is very user friendly and you do not need to do anything manually - everything is done perfectly and automatically.

    After the download was finished I opened my FSX folders to verify that the installation was completed correctly and of course it was - I found the Watchkeeper perfectly placed in the correct FSX library folder.

    Hereafter I opened up my FSX and went into my virtual hangar to check the installation and the liveries. The Watchkeeper was perfectly placed in the library of First Class Sim together with a second extra add-on that I discovered was also included in this download. The extra add-on was the Predator UAV which I was quite surprised about since I did not expect it. There were in total five liveries for the Predator but only two liveries for the Watchkeeper. This I found to be a bit strange since the add-on was named UAV Watchkeeper, but never mind I now had the pleasure of trying out both UAVs.

    The add-on can be installed for both FSX and FS2004 but in this review I have only tested the FSX version.

    I started my test with an external walk around the Watchkeeper. The model is very well made and features custom animations such as wheels turning, control surfaces and propeller animation together with a huge number of specific details that I could verify from pictures of the real Watchkeeper. The textures used are of good quality, the finish is super and the paint scheme is very realistic. All-in-all a very well made model that resembles the real aircraft spot-on.


    Real

    First Class Sim

    Now I changed the view to be the Predator UAV instead and went for a walk around that aircraft. This aircraft also resembles the real version quite well and features custom animations like the Watchkeeper but also gear up/down and flexible wing animation. The textures used are okay but the model is lacking finish and realism. I am sorry to say but the Predator model is below what can be expected for a payware add-on.

    The Watchkeeper

       

       


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