By Arie Egozi
Tel Aviv. A improved engine and improved avionics makes the Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) – Heron MK II UAV, a very capable systems. Deliveries of the first UAV of this new version will begin soon.
Moshe Levy, IAI’s executive VP and the general manger of the company’s military aircraft group told Raksha Anirveda that the improved engine will give the new version an improved performance capability and will make it a very efficient UAV for many armed forces.
Earlier this year, IAI signed two contracts, one to sell and one to lease two Heron MKII UAV systems to a central Asian country. The deal is valued at tens of millions of dollars. The systems include reconnaissance payloads, Heron MK II drones and land arrays. In recent weeks, additional contract were signed to some additional systems.
The Heron MK II reaches an altitude of 35,000 feet, maximum speed of 140 knots, and can stay in the air for up to 45 hours. Thanks to improved production technologies, the Heron MK II has a wider and stronger chassis enabling quick and easy maintenance without affecting the UAV’s net weight. The UAV enables the use of new configurations and has a long-range reconnaissance sensor and radar. It can carry a range of additional payloads like COMINT and ELINT equipment. The UAV’s outstanding characteristic is its standoff capability, i.e. the capability of gathering intelligence on targets from a long distance (dozens of miles) with no need to cross borders, thanks to its ability to carry larger, improved sensors. In addition, the Heron MK II boasts improved avionics and an improved and reinforced engine.
According to Levy, the Heron MK II UAVs can land on any airstrip and can manoeuvre under extreme weather conditions. ” It has a larger internal carrying capacity and can reach very high altitudes fully loaded with different payloads”.
The IAI official said that the Heron MK II is another member of the Heron family, a significant bonus to Heron operators around the world, since it shares the first model’s operational use concepts. These concepts are based on extensive experience and knowledge in the field of UAVs, that IAI has been accumulating over nearly 50 years of activity, almost 2 million hours of flight time and more than 50 operational customers.
-The writer is an International Roving Correspondent of this publication