IAI Heron Showcases Its Maritime Surveillance Capability For Royal Navy

The Israel Air Force relies heavily on UAS, judging by the fact that four drone squadrons account for 80% of its total flight hours. Recently, the Heron 1 and Heron TP UAS became the first drones to fly next to fighter jets during the Independence Day celebration flyover.

The maritime version of Heron, on the other hand, took center stage during a recent demonstration for the UK Ministry of Defense, the UK government, and representatives of the Civil sector, which took place at the West Wales Airport in Aberporth, Wales.

Israel Defense reports that the drone was ready to go within 36 hours of arriving. It also got the chance to demonstrate its ability to cope with extreme weather conditions, from humid to snowy, since the weather in Wales was apparently not favorable at all for the demonstration.

The live demonstration included BLOS (Beyond the Line of Sight) maritime search operations and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) tasks. That’s because this maritime patrol drone is meant for a variety of missions, from search and rescue to border protection and small boat detection.

At 8.5 meters (27.8 feet), Heron can support a payload of up to 470 kg (1,000 lbs). Its impressive operational endurance of 45 hours is matched by a range of at least 1,000 km (621 miles), depending on fuel availability.

During the demonstration, the Maritime Heron also received live requests from the ones who were attending, transmitted through the system’s ground control station (GCS). In return, the drone was able to broadcast the data it had gathered to in-person and virtual attendees at the same time.

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