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German-Israeli collaboration successfully tries Heron reco UAV.

The German Heron TP, an unmanned aerial system (UAS) developed in collaboration by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Airbus, conducted its first flight in German airspace
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The maiden flight of Germany's Heron TP, an unmanned aerial system created through a partnership between Israel Aerospace Industries and Airbus, took place in German airspace (Picture source: Airbus)

The German Heron TP, a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) customized for the German Ministry of Defense, made its inaugural flight over German territory on May 15, 2024.

The event underscores the deepening defense collaboration between Germany and Israel, facilitated by the efforts of IAI, the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and Airbus.

In terms of defense, Germany and Israel exhibit diverse facets and complex ties. Due to Germany's historical responsibility in the Holocaust and its aftermath, the two countries maintain a special relationship that makes Germany one of Israel’s most steadfast defense partners in Europe, as highlighted in the GlobalData's Israel Defence Market 2023-2028 report.

The UAS integrates technology to enhance the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities of the German armed forces. This project is the result of the partnership between the two countries, enabling both nations to develop an RPAS ready for operational use.

The inaugural flight, attended by senior representatives from the German Air Force, DDR&D, Airbus, and IAI, marks a step towards achieving full operational capability of the German Heron TP.

Boaz Levy, CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries, hailed this flight as a significant milestone, underscoring its importance for IAI’s global position in aerospace and defense solutions.

Levy stated that deploying the Heron TP in Germany represents a significant milestone for Israel Aerospace Industries, reinforcing our position as a leading provider of cutting-edge aerospace and defense solutions on the global stage.

Despite ongoing regional tensions, Israeli defense companies like IAI are expanding their global presence through contracts and partnerships. Companies like these face challenges in a context of regional hostilities and calls for arms embargoes.

Dr. Daniel Gold, head of DDR&D at the Israeli Ministry of Defense, emphasized the strategic significance of the German Heron TP, describing it as a qualitative leap in military capability and stated that this joint venture between Israel and Germany illustrates the solid partnership and collaboration between Israel and Germany.

As highlighted by GlobalData's insights on the German defense market, Germany recently signed an agreement with Israel to purchase the advanced Arrow 3 missile defense system designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles.

Jean-Brice Dumont, head of air power at Airbus Defence and Space, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the successful history of cooperation on the Heron 1 and the expanded capabilities of the Heron TP: "With the German Heron TP, we build on the success of our close cooperation with Israel Aerospace Industries and the German armed forces. This RPAS has proven vital for the security of German troops and populations in Afghanistan and Mali.

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