Qinetiq will be conducting airborne tests of the Watchkeeper UAV at the ParcAberporth test site in Wales during the next 18 months.
The £800m Watchkeeper project will deliver 54 UAVs to The British Army for surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
A notable feature of the programme is that two Watchkeepers can operate in tandem, with one collecting information and the other acting as a communications relay.
The Thales-built Watchkeeper weighs 450kg and can carry a payload of 150kg, with a typical flight time of 17 hours.
It is due to enter service in mid-2010.
By Tim McAtackney