System Will Support Royal Australian Air Force Troops In
The first Heron Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) was delivered
to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)December 10th through the
Canadian company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. The Heron
UAS, made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), includes an
aircraft, mission payloads, Advanced Ground Control Station (AGCS),
spare parts, and ground support equipment.
Heron File Photo
Many distinguished guests attended the delivery ceremony,
including the Canadian military attache, Col. Geordie Elms; the
Australian military attache, Col. Wayne Fleming; the Canadian
senior trade commissioner, Catherine Gosselin; as well as
representatives from the Israeli Ministry of Defense, MDA, and IAI
The Australian Department of Defense (DOD) awarded a contract to
MDA to supply Heron systems to Australia for operations by the RAAF
in support of troops deployed in Afghanistan for intelligence,
reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) missions, as part of Project
NANKEEN. The Heron was chosen from among a number of UAS
competitors, after successfully completing a series of tests, for
its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.
The Heron system delivered today will start operations in early
2010 for one year, with the option to extend for an additional two
Itzhak Nissan, President and CEO of IAI, said: "We are proud
that the Australian DOD has selected the Heron as its 'eyes in the
skies' in Afghanistan. IAI and MDA both contributed to supply the
high quality UAS efficiently and to the customer's satisfaction.
IAI regards the Royal Australian Air Force to be an important and
At the delivery ceremony, David Marriott, Project Manager at
MDA, said: "The partnership between IAI and MDA has brought us to
this proud moment. The UAS will soon be operational in
Col. Wayne Fleming, the Australian military attache, said at the
ceremony: "Australia is looking forward to the UAS supporting our
troops in Afghanistan."
The Heron UAS, a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV, can
remain airborne for over 30 hours with a cruising altitude of
30,000 feet and an ability to carry a payload of approximately 550
pounds. The Heron has a wingspan of 54.5 feet, a takeoff weight of
2645 lbs, an operational range of several hundred miles, an
automatic takeoff and landing system, and is well suited to the
challenging climate and conditions of Afghanistan.