Luftwaffe to fly Heron 1 UAV two more years
Rheinmetall has been awarded a follow-up contract to make the Heron 1 unmanned aircraft available to the Bundeswehr for a further two years. The volume of the follow-up order comes to a substantial eight-figure euro amount, and covers the period 23 October 2010 to 22 October 2012.
At the German base in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, the German Air Force currently operates three Heron 1 aircraft and two ground control stations, which Rheinmetall makes available as part of an operator solution. The system, whose German acronym SAATEG stands for "system for imagery reconnaissance deep in the area of operations", is used for real-time aerial surveillance and reconnaissance throughout the entire area of operations of the German ISAF contingent; it went into operation on 17 March 2010.
Able to operate around the clock in virtually all weather conditions, the Heron 1 is an unmanned, medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) aircraft used for targeting and damage assessment. With a wingspan of 16.6 metres and a take-off weight of 1.2 tons, this aircraft has an operating ceiling of 30,000 feet.