AFP
German Bundeswehr renews Service Contracts for Heron 1

German Bundeswehr renews Service Contracts for Heron 1 20 July, 2020

Airbus Defence and Space and the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) have signed a renewed service contract agreement for Heron 1 unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in operation in Afghanistan and Mali.

In Afghanistan, Heron 1 Services has been extended in March 2020, for the period June 2020 / May 2021.

Comparably in Mali, Heron 1 services have also been extended for the period August 2020 /July 2021 (with an option for August 2021 / July 2022).

November 2016 after the first service contract was signed in July 2016.

When adding the Heron 1’s operations for the German Armed Forces in both Afghanistan and Mali, the Air Force’s UAV system has thus chalked up more than 57,500 successful operational flight hours.

Both places of deployment are being managed using a joint operator model

Manufactured by the Israeli company IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries), Heron 1 is an unarmed medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAS which can stay airborne above the respective theatre of operations.

The Heron 1 has a wingspan of 16.6 meters and a maximum mission endurance of over 24 hours. The system’s military tasks include detecting booby traps from the air, accompanying convoys and patrols, assisting forces in combat situations, reconnoitring and surveilling routes, establishing movement profiles and long-term monitoring, supporting situation assessments, and protecting property and military camps. It is also used to support humanitarian missions.

These Heron 1 systems, currently deployed by the German Armed Forces in Afghanistan and Mali, are to be replaced by the more powerful IAI Heron TP, following an operator agreement signed in Berlin in July 2018 between Airbus Defence and Space and the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). The replacement of Heron 1 by Heron TP will have a two-year set-up phase, followed by an operational phase lasting a further seven years, thereby bridging the gap until a sovereign European MALE UAS will be developed.

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