The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support and Airbus Defence and Space Airborne Solutions GmbH signed an operator agreement for Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) Heron TP on June 14, 2018.
The lease deal will see the Heron TP replacing the earlier IAI Heron 1 in Bundeswehr service. The contract, which had gained parliamentary approval on June 13, 2018, covers the provision of the Heron TP medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS, as well as the provision of operational services. The project includes an initial two-year set-up phase, followed by a seven-year operational phase and is intended to bridge the capability gap until a European MALE UAS solution can be developed.
The Bundeswehr will receive five Heron TP platforms, four ground segments, training and operational services.
Jana Rosenmann, Airbus’ Head of Unmanned Systems, said: “This project will provide the Bundeswehr with an even more efficient system that will better protect soldiers in a wide range of threat situations, as well as the at-risk civilian population …The modular concept will allow us to provide the Bundeswehr with the capabilities it needs, on time, for the years to come.”
Although IAI does not comment on such matters, the Heron TP is reportedly capable of deploying a range of air-to-ground weapons and the Bundeswehr’s aircraft will also be fitted with an electrooptical, infra-red and imaging radar sensor systems for intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance missions in support of ground forces. Nigel Pittaway