Singapore now flying improved Israeli drones

Made by Israel Aerospace Industries, the Heron-1 UAV is capable of remaining in the air close to two days without refueling.

May 28, 2012 07:40
1 minute read.
Heron-1 UAV

Heron-1 UAV_370. (photo credit: Reuters)


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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.

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The Heron 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 missions.

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 Week.

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.

Singapore is 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 received.

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