IAI unveils latest tactical UAV: the T-Heron

Latest system in the Heron family is designed for tactical missions on the battlefield.

June 4, 2019 20:30
2 minute read.
IAI unveils latest tactical UAV: the T-Heron

T-Heron drone from the IAF. (photo credit: IAI)

Israel’s Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) on Tuesday said it will be unveiling a new drone at the upcoming Paris Air Show with the “most advanced” technologies designed for tactical missions on the battlefield.

Called the T-Heron, it has a versatile design, is suitable for a variety of payloads of up to 180 kg. and is expected to be used extensively by ground troops and coastal guards as well as by other protection forces.

The unmanned aerial system (UAS) is resistant to extreme weather conditions and features “one of the highest levels of flight safety and reliability,” IAI said in a statement. It’s Rotax engine allows the drone to fly at a maximum altitude of 24,000 feet and reach a speed of 120 knots.

It is capable of carrying several payloads concurrently, is equipped with IAI’s best sensors and complies with global standards.

“We are proud to introduce the most recent UAS developed by IAI,” said Moshe Levy, IAI executive VP and CEO of the Military Aircraft Division. “Our T-Heron tactical UAS rounds up the range of operational UAS solutions IAI offers to all forces on the battlefield: marine, air, ground and intelligence. IAI preserves its leadership position in UAS’s with a continuous stream of solutions for the challenges posed in the field.”

The T-Heron joins IAI’s Heron UAS family, which over 40 years has flown over 1,700,000 combat flight hours with over 50 operational customers who use the drones in a range of missions, environmental conditions and battle theaters across the globe.

Israel has agreed to only export strategic weapons systems such as combat UAVs to member countries.

According to foreign media reports, Israel is considered a leading exporter of UAVs, and IAI has over 30 clients worldwide, including Germany, Australia and South Korea.

The German air force has been operating the Heron in Afghanistan since 2010 where they have been involved in thousands of missions, accumulating over 27,000 flight hours.

Last year, lawmakers in Germany’s Bundestag's budget committee approved a deal, worth close to a billion dollars, to lease five of IAI’s most advanced system, the Heron TP Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) RPASs (Remotely Piloted Air vehicle System) for surveillance and possibly armed missions to support troops deployed to Mali and Afghanistan.

The Heron TP has a 40 hour endurance, maximum take-off weight of 11,685 pounds and a payload of 2,204-pounds. It can be used for reconnaissance as well as combat and support roles, and can carry air-to-ground missiles to take out hostile targets.

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