IAI-made Heron UAV to be Operated by Royal Australian Air Force in Afghanistan
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will supply its Heron Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA), who have been awarded a contract by the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) for an unmanned aerial surveillance solution.
The Heron, which will support Australian deployed forces in Afghanistan under Project NANKEEN, will be operated by the Australian Royal Air Force and will provide a significant boost to the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) operational intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability in Afghanistan. The Heron UAS will be the ADF's first MALE platform in Afghanistan. The Heron was selected after a comprehensive examination of available ISR systems. The Heron will be operational in early 2010 for a period of one year, with options for an additional two years.
Itzhak Nissan, President and CEO of IAI said: "IAI and MDA both contributed to supply the high quality UAS efficiently and to the customer's complete satisfaction. IAI regards the ADF to be an important and esteemed user. We are proud that the ADF has selected the Heron as its 'eyes in the skies' in Afghanistan".
Building on the previously announced successful Noctua Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) service for the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, IAI and MDA will provide a similar complete turnkey operational UAV service under this new contract. The service will include complete operations, maintenance and logistical support to provide real-time, multi-sensor intelligence information directly to the theatre of operation.
The Canadian,and French Air Forces have begun using the IAI Heron UAS in service of the fighting forces stationed in Afghanistan. The Canadian Air Force is deploying flight operations from Kandahar Airfield for the Canadian Department of National Defense (DND). The Spanish Air Force is operating the Searcher UAS in Afghanistan. The UASs support the troops by providing crucial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information in real time to commanders and directly to front line soldiers.