In the shadows

Civilian intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance companies are increasingly performing traditionally military roles overseas. AFM’s Alan Warnes explains why, and asks if there might be advantages to the UK in expanding their use.


IN 2005, DO Systems became the first UK company to enter a conflict zone with civilian owned but RAF-registered aircraft. Initially it flew a countermeasuresequipped King Air (ZK457) to Iraq, but the concept has since developed to include other aircraft types, mostly in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) configurations.

The company acquired three Diamond DA42MPPs, equipped them with ISR systems and deployed a pair to Iraq, wearing military serials. In missions lasting up to ten hours they are believed to have recorded video and still images during missions over Basra.

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