The UAV equivalent of the electric geriatric scooter, the nicest thing that can be said about it is that it's better than nothing. Still in service today because:
- The replacement hasn't been delivered yet (see British Military Procurement Mysteries)
- It's too embarassing to get rid of it given how much it cost
- The Gunners haven't managed to crash them all yet, although they did try hard during Op Telic.
Phoenix was born out of a Cold War requirement to target artillery during World War 3 in Germany. Phoenix had a long and protracted development process, went wildly over budget and took far longer than planned before it finally managed to meet most of the original requirements.
Unfortunately by then the World had moved on and Phoenix was obsolete before it entered service. Fortunately for those that champion it Phoenix had soaked up all available UAV funding so no others were purchased by the UK to show it up. Compared to its rivals Phoenix flies lower and slower for a shorter period. It is also very, very noisy. This allows as many of the opposition as possible to find it and shoot at it. It then has a unique recovery system that ensures as many bits as possible get broken.
It finally saw action during Op Telic and when it was able to get off the launcher without crashing it was used to direct artillery fire quite satisfactorily. Unfortunately that was only at night most of the time, high temperatures during the day reducing lift below that needed to sustain flight.