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Watchkeeper – how Parc Aberporth played its part in a £1 billion waste of money

Any reader of this website will be aware of the saga of Parc Aberporth, and how the hyped UK “centre of excellence” for civilian drone development back in 2009 became nothing more than a testing facility for the British military’s “Watchkeeper” drone, with no signs of any other drone development ever taking place on the site.

The final misjudgement appears to have been the west Wales weather which has proved too adverse to allow safe testing of the drones. An undisclosed number of Watchkeeper drones have been sent to the Ascension Island for eight month. Some may have been from the twenty-one based at Parc Aberporth where most have been boxed up in MoD storage.


Watchkeeper drone at Parc Aberporth in west Wales, August 2015 (Photo: Jack Serle)

The full story of Watchkeeper and the UK drone programme has been told over the last few months by the “Bureau of Investigative Journalism” in a series of articles and a podcast on its website.

October 2nd 2015Boxed up, barely used and 4 years late: Watchkeeper, the Army’s ‘affordable’ £1.2bn drone programme

October 12th 2015PODCAST: How Scavenger drone became Protector – and why Watchkeeper ‘not value for money’

December 11th 2015Army moves Watchkeeper drone training to tropics for winter after flying problems in UK weather