IAI Heron 1 contract for Luftwaffe extended to 2014
Rheinmetall Airborne Systems GmbH, a joint venture by Cassidian and Rheinmetall, will continue to support the German Armed Forces in Afghanistan by providing unmanned airborne reconnaissance services.
The Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) prolonged an existing order to the company to provide the German Armed Forces with Heron 1 ultramodern unmanned reconnaissance aircraft for two more years. The volume of the order prolongation amounts to about 75 million euros for the period from October 2012 to October 2014.
The order includes the continuation of flight operations as well as the training of additional operational personnel of the German Air Force and the installation of new, more powerful sensor payloads.
As part of the SAATEG interim solution, the German Air Force is using two UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) at the Mazar-e-Sharif base in Afghanistan, with a total of three Heron 1 aircraft and two ground control stations that will be provided by Rheinmetall Airborne Systems GmbH as part of an operator solution.
This System for imaging reconnaissance in the depths of the theatre of operations (System zur abbildenden Aufklärung in der Tiefe des Einsatzgebietes – SAATEG) is used for real-time airborne monitoring and reconnaissance in the entire theatre of operations of the German ISAF forces. It was put into operation on 17 March 2010.
Heron, the first UAS operated by the German Air Force, has already flown over 9,300 hours of reconnaissance missions in the theatre of operations of the German Armed Forces. It is expected to have flown for 10,000 hours by the middle of August 2012.
The MALE UAS (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) Heron 1, can be deployed for target and effect clarification at any time of the day or night, and is largely independent of the weather. With a wingspan of 16.6 metres and a takeoff weight of 1.2 tonnes, the Heron 1 can operate at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet. Thanks to its satellite data link, the UAS can carry out reconnaissance over great distances.