Israel made Heron reconnaissance drone deployed in Mali by the German Bundeswehr 81603173

Military Defense Industry Technology - Germany
 
Israel made Heron reconnaissance drone deployed in Mali by the German Bundeswehr
In just 6 months’ time, the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) deployed the Heron reconnaissance drone aircraft to Mali in support of the MINUSMA United Nations mission. The aircraft system is now fully operational.
     
In just 6 months’ time, the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) deployed the Heron reconnaissance drone aircraft to Mali in support of the MINUSMA United Nations mission. The aircraft system is now fully operational.
A soldier inspects the disassembled Heron on its arrival in Gao (Mali) (Source: Bundeswehr)
     
A particular advantage of unmanned systems is the long mission endurance. There is no need to land the aircraft system as pilots can alternately command and control the UAS during missions. For this reason, flight operations may be conducted over several hours. The Bundeswehr already gained positive experience with reconnaissance aircraft systems in Afghanistan, where Heron 1 has completed more than 30 000 flight hours by the end of 2016.

Thanks to Heron 1, the potential reconnaissance radius of the German MINUSMA forces increased more than tenfold, from formerly 80 to now up to 900 kilometers. The on-board technology also improves the safety of the soldiers on the ground. With respect to the Heron’s reconnaissance capabilities Nico M. explains, “We have optical and infrared sensors on board and an imaging radar can be retrofitted, if required.” The live images are analyzed and provided to MINUSMA and, thus, serve to protect all forces participating in this international mission.

A lot needed to be done to render this possible. “Within a few weeks around 120 containers, each weighing up to 11 tons, were deployed to Mali by sea, air and land transport – this certainly kept us all on our toes,” explains Erich K. with respect to the challenges of the project. The civil servant (Technischer Regierungsoberamtsrat) has been part of the Heron 1 project team for eight years and, as Deputy Project Manager, supported the Project Manager during his first project. “Being now able to inform the United Nations of the full operational capability means that, finally, the last function of the Heron is operational.

”This function is the system’s satellite link. In addition to the line-of-sight radio control, missions can now be commanded and controlled via satellite, he explains. “Now Heron is even capable of flying to areas in which we do not have a direct line-of-sight from the aircraft to the antenna system in the camp.” Consequently, the entire reconnaissance range of Heron can now be exploited.

     
In just 6 months’ time, the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) deployed the Heron reconnaissance drone aircraft to Mali in support of the MINUSMA United Nations mission. The aircraft system is now fully operational.
Front view of a Heron on the ground (Source: Bundeswehr)
     
Heron 1 is manufactured by the Israeli company called Israel Aerospace Industries, which, tasked by BAAINBw, also conducts the training for the Bundeswehr pilots and sensor operators in Israel. In the mission country the system is operated and maintained by Airbus Defense and Space Airborne Solutions. Manfred D. (Leitender Technischer Regierungsdirektor) appreciates the commitment of all parties involved: “For the mission’s sake everyone acted in concert.”

For the time being, the contract negotiated between BAAINBw and industry, under which the full operational capability of three Heron 1 UAS will be ensured, remains in effect until February 2018. “If the German Bundestag extends the mandate for the Mission, we will be prepared to respond quickly,” says Manfred D. Until then, the now fully operational Heron will keep on circling above Mali, ensuring the safety of the MINUSMA forces on the ground.
 

 

This website uses cookies to manage authentication, navigation, and other functions. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.