Rockwell Collins [COL], through its recent acquisition of Athena Technologies, recently announced a follow-on production order for Athena 411 integrated inertial navigation, global positioning, and air data attitude heading reference systems (INS/GPS/ADAHRS).

UAV Tactical Systems Ltd. (U-TacS), the joint venture between Thales UK and Elbit Systems based at Leicester, U.K., awarded the contract to Rockwell Collins.

The Athena 411 systems will provide guidance and navigation, including dual redundant INS and quad redundant air data, to the WATCHKEEPER UAV, the largest UAV program outside the United States. The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded the WATCHKEEPER contract worth $1.2 billion to a team led by Thales UK in 2005.

The MoD will use WATCHKEEPER to provide essential surveillance and reconnaissance to protect British troops during times of war. System flight tests of WATCHKEEPER began this month.

“We are very pleased to continue to provide our Athena guidance and navigation systems to this extremely important, high profile international UAV program,” David Vos, senior director of control technologies for Rockwell Collins, said. “The Athena 411 meets Watchkeeper’s Defence-Standard requirements and provides the highest performance at the best value. Weighing only 2.2 pounds, or 1 Kg, it is the lightest, smallest and most affordable COTS GuideStar with tactical grade performance.”

Athena Technologies was purchased by Rockwell Collins in April.