In preparation for its delivery to the German Armed Forces, the German Heron TP UAV has completed its first flight in the skies of the State of Israel, Israel Aerospace Industries inform. The UAV was modified according to the needs and requirements of the German Ministry of Defense.
This maiden flight of the first German Heron TP UAV based on the Israeli “Eitan” UAV is the result of a joint program led by the UAV Executive Office in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), of the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD), Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and Airbus DS Airborne Solutions, an Airbus Group company. The agreement between the respective ministries was signed in June 2018. The agreement outlines the leasing of a number of UAVs as well as maintenance and training services. As such, German Air Force personnel are training together with their Israeli counterparts in an IAF base in central Israel.
The German Heron TP UAV was modified in record time and incorporates advanced ‘blue-and-white’ Israeli technology. IAI Executive VP and GM of the Military Aircraft Group, Moshe Levy, said: “IAI is pleased to mark this important milestone in the Heron TP project for Germany. We thank our partners in the Ministry of Defense and Airbus Group, for their cooperation in this project – a result of which we are going to provide the German Air Force with a system tailored to its operational needs and requirements.”
The IAI Heron (Machatz-1) is a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle developed by the Malat (UAV) division of Israel Aerospace Industries. It is capable of Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) operations of up to 52 hours’ duration at up to 10.5 km (35,000 ft). It has demonstrated 52 hours of continuous flight, but the effective operational maximal flight duration is less, according to payload and flight profile. An advanced version, the Heron TP, is also known as the IAI Eitan.
The IAI Eitan (export designation: Heron TP) can operate at altitudes above commercial air traffic and features all-weather capability, de-icing systems, automatic takeoff and landing (ATOL) systems, and triple-redundant avionics. It is a high-wing cantilever monoplane with wings of high aspect ratio. Booms extend rearward from the wings and carry twin tails that are joined by a common horizontal stabilizer. The main units of the tricycle undercarriage retract into the tail booms, and the nosewheel retracts into the fuselage. A single turboprop engine is mounted in the rear fuselage, driving a pusher propeller. Construction throughout is of composite materials.
On top of around 15 units operated by Israel, India is already operating 10 units. Germany is about to follow.