The Romanian Ministry of National Defense (MND) has awarded a framework contract to Israel-based company Elbit Systems to provide Watchkeeper X uncrewed aircraft system (UAS).

The estimated ceiling value of this award is approximately $410m (RON1.89bn). It is valid for a period of five years.

The deal includes delivery of up to seven Watchkeeper X UAS for the Romanian armed forces.

The company said that the MND has not made any specific purchase orders yet under this framework contract.

Watchkeeper X is based on Elbit Systems’ family of Hermes aircraft systems.

It is the UK export variant of the British Army’s Watchkeeper aircraft, built by Elbit Systems UK-based subsidiary UAV Tactical Systems (U-TacS).

The UAS in service with the British Army and was developed by Thales UK in partnership with Elbit Systems.

Elbit Systems CEO and president Bezalel Machlis said: “This contract demonstrates the sustained demand for Elbit Systems’ UAS.

“We look forward to further strengthening Elbit Systems’ relationship with the Romanian Government.”

According to Elbit Systems, Watchkeeper X is compatible with the Nato standards and will allow the Romanian armed forces to develop interoperability with other Nato allied and partner nations’ forces.

Work associated with this contract will be carried out by Elbit Systems’ subsidiaries in Romania in collaboration with U-TacS and Aerostar to develop the new UAS in the country.

Machlis added: “As part of the contract execution, Elbit Systems plans to establish infrastructure and industrial cooperation with U-TacS, Aerostar and Elbit Systems’ subsidiaries in Romania to produce the UAS in Romania.

“We also appreciate the continued support and collaboration with the Israeli and UK governments and our business partners on the Watchkeeper programme.”