BREMEN, Germany (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Airbus announced yesterday (12th December 2018) in a press release that Germany has prolonged the contracts for the operation of the Heron 1 drones in Afghanistan and Mali by Airbus DS Airborne Solutions GmbH, a company of Airbus, until the middle of 2020, learned BulgarianMilitary.com
Airbus is responsible for provision, maintenance and repair of the systems and ensures the contracted operational availability of Heron 1 in Afghanistan and Mali.
Ralf Hastedt, Head of Sales and Business Development of Airbus DS Airborne Solutions GmbH, commented, “In Afghanistan and Mali, the services model has proven its performance capability by reaching a system availability of more than 98%. The proven capability of the Heron system to support worldwide deployment missions is reflected in these contract extensions as well as in the signed contract on the next generation RPAS MALE HERON TP.”
Thus, the most successful and beneficial partnership between Airbus Defence and Space and the Bundeswehr is continued. The contract covers the provision of all assets and manpower for the purposes of supporting the Israeli Heron 1 systems operations in the two countries of deployment. Heron 1, which is produced by the Israeli IAI (Israeli Aerospace Industries), is a medium altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial system (UAS). That unmanned system can stay airborne above the respective operational area for quite long periods (more than twenty-four hours) and can be operated from unpaved runways in harsh environmental conditions.
The wingspan of the Heron 1 is approximately 17 m and its operational range is up to 800 km. It is used for detection of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from the air, route exploration and supervision, creation of movement profiles and long-term supervision, convoy and patrol unit escort, support for status reports, object and camp protection, as well as for security and humanitarian support operations.
The Heron 1 has been in operation by the Air Force in Afghanistan since 2010 and in Mali – since 2016. As of the moment the total operational flying hours successfully flown over both countries exceed the number of 46,000. The Heron 1 contributes successfully with the protection of soldiers and civilians in the relevant operational areas.
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