Poland will become the sixth country to fly Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Afghanistan after the Polish Defense Ministry chose Yavneh-based Aeronautics to supply it with tactical drones in anti-Taliban operations there.
Five NATO countries already operate Israeli UAVs, made by Israel Aerospace Industries: Germany, Spain, France, Canada and Australia. Under the $30 million contract, Aeronautics will supply the Polish military with eight Aerostar drones, which have a range of 200 kilometers and are capable of carrying an 80 kilogram payload.
Aeronautics beat out IAI and Elbit Systems Ltd for the contract. In January, the German Air Force came to Israel to receive an undisclosed number of Heron drone systems, made by IAI, which were also purchased by Australia in December.
Israel is a recognized world leader in the development of UAVs. In November, Brazil said it was prepared to sign a $350 m. deal to purchase Heron UAVs to patrol its cities and borders, and to provide security for the 2014 Soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.