Romania has purchased its first three of a possible seven Watchkeeper X tactical drones from Elbit Systems for $180 million.
The sale is part of a $410-million framework agreement signed by the Romanian Ministry of National Defense in December 2022.
Work for the contract will be performed over two years.
Elbit will produce the surveillance drone in Romania in cooperation with its British and Romanian subsidiaries, including infrastructure and industrial collaboration.
The Watchkeeper X was developed by Elbit UK subsidiary UK-Tacs for the Royal British Army to conduct intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance missions.
At least 40 Watchkeepers, derived from the Hermes 450, are currently in service.
Romania will receive upgraded Watchkeeper X drones with advanced features such as the Spectro XR multi-spectral electro-optical payload and new communication capabilities.
The aircraft is compatible with NATO standards, enabling interoperability with allied forces.
“The ongoing research and development we are investing in the Watchkeeper platform will enhance the capabilities of both the Romanian and British Armed forces to meet evolving operational requirements,” Elbit Systems Aerospace General Manager Yoram Shmuely said.