(photo credit: Reuters)
In the latest glimpse into ties with Singapore, the island nation inaugurated a
squadron of Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles last week, according to The
Straits Times newspaper.
Made by Israel Aerospace Industries, the Heron-1
UAV is capable of remaining in the air close to two days without refueling. In
comparison, the UAV used before by the Singapore Air Force – called the Searcher
and also made by IAI – can only remain in flight for 12 hours.
can also fly at an altitude of 30,000 feet, making it a difficult target for
standard anti-aircraft weapons. It has the ability to carry a 250-kg. payload,
in comparison to the 100 kg. the Searcher can hold.
The Heron has a
wingspan of 16.6 meters and weighs 1,200 kg., with an operational range of
hundreds of kilometers and the ability to fly in all weather conditions, as well
as during the day and at night.
Singapore’s Defense Minister Dr. Ng Eng
Hen told local news outlets that the Heron UAVs would provide better situational
awareness for soldiers and enable them to make better decisions during
In February, Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited Singapore to
attend the annual air show and in a bid to help Israeli defense companies secure
contracts with other countries. Israel is competing for a number of tenders in
Singapore including ones for anti-submarine warfare systems, aerial refueling
tankers and fixed-wing aircraft, according to a report at the time in Aviation
In recent years, a number of reports on the ties between Israel and
Singapore have emerged including the revelation that the IDF helped Singapore
establish its military in the 1960s.
Singapore’s founding father, Lee
Kuan Yew, insisted that the ties remain secret so as not to not provoke the
country’s Muslim neighbors, according to media reports.
reportedly one of Israel’s top customers and even helps fund various projects
such as the Iron Dome counter-rocket system that it has also already reportedly