The successful maiden flight of the Heron TP drone took place in Israel on July 26, 2020. This Dohne is also intended for the Bundeswehr. Heron TP is a medium-altitude, long-flight unmanned aerial vehicle (MALE-UAV) developed by Israel Aerospace Industries based on the Eitan drone, which has been launched in Israel over the past ten years. Compared to its predecessor Heron 1, the reconnaissance sensors were improved, the flight altitude increased to 12,000 m and the operating time in the target area doubled. This means that a reconnaissance operation can be achieved over several days. The strategic, operational and tactical application options have been improved.
On June 13, 2018, the federal government signed a contract with the Israeli UAV Executive Office - in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR & D) of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. In this contract, the modification of the Heron TP according to German military requirements was determined by a consortium consisting of the manufacturer IAI and Airbus DS Airborne Solutions (ADAS). The adaptation of the aircraft is on schedule despite influences from the corona pandemic, and a first deployment is planned for 2020.
Germany has ordered five aircraft and four ground stations. This enables simultaneous use in two different areas of application. In a long-term contract, ADAS operates the drones in the area of operation and provides the Heron TP ready to fly. ADAS is responsible for timely maintenance and repairs.
The Air Force pilots, who will take over the Heron TP after take-off and carry out reconnaissance missions, have been trained in Israel since 2018.
This means that the planned start of Heron TP's deployment before the end of this year seems likely.
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