Remotely Piloted Aircraft for ISR Takes Flight in Germany

Customized for the German MOD, the German Heron TP RPAS, suited to airborne ISR with its optical and imaging radar capabilities, has completed its first flight in German airspace By William Mackenzie / 22 May 2024
Remotely Piloted Aircraft for ISR Takes Flight in Germany
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The German Heron TP (GHTP) remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) has completed its maiden flight in Germany. 

The RPAS was customized for the unique requirements of the German Ministry of Defence, as part of a joint venture between IAI, Israel’s Ministry of Defense’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), and Airbus.

The close cooperation between Airbus, IAI, DDR&D and the German Armed Forces, ensured the development of an RPAS which exhibits both advanced performance and operational readiness, while also providing the German Armed Forces with additional capabilities. 

The flight was conducted in the presence of the senior representatives from the German Air Force, the DDR&D at the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Airbus and, IAI. The event is an important step towards reaching full operational capability.

The GHTP RPAS, a strategic platform capable of carrying a variety of sensors, is a unique joint Israeli and German project, based on a contract given to Airbus and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

The German Heron TP

As part of an operational turnkey solution by Airbus, the German Heron TP RPAS is set to fill a gap in the field of persistent, airborne, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). 

The system is equipped with means to conduct optical and imaging radar reconnaissance, while providing options for additional SIGINT (signals intelligence) as well as maritime surveillance capabilities.

The GHTP RPAS enables the German Armed Forces to expand its strategic and tactical capabilities, while ensuring interoperability with NATO partners.

The Heron TP is the strategic version in IAI’s Heron family of RPAS which also includes the Heron 1 – successfully operated by the German Air Force during its deployments in Afghanistan and Mali for a number of years.

In addition to the provision and modification of the RPAS, the industrial operator model also includes the training of Air Force personnel, basic operation, maintenance, and repair, in theatre, as well as the provision of flight hours.

President and CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Mr. Boaz Levy, commented; “The deployment of Heron TP (GHTP) RPAS in Germany signifies a milestone achievement for Israel Aerospace Industries, reinforcing its position as a leading provider of cutting-edge aerospace and defense solutions on the global stage. This collaboration sets the stage for continued innovation and collaboration in addressing the ever-evolving challenges in the defense sector.”

Head of DDR&D, IMOD, Dr. Daniel Gold added; “We are immensely proud to witness this milestone achievement, the maiden flight of the German Heron TP. This joint endeavor between Israel and Germany exemplifies the strong partnership and collaboration between our nations, harnessing cutting-edge technology to provide a qualitative military advantage. The German Heron TP RPAS represents a strategic leap forward in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, fortifying Germany’s defense prowess while fostering interoperability with our allies.”

IAI VP and General Manager of the Military Aircraft Group, Mr. Moshe Levy, stated; “IAI is pleased to note this further step forward in the German Heron TP project. We thank our partners at Airbus and the Ministry of Defense for their cooperation in this project. It is a source of considerable pride for us that the Heron UAV manufactured by IAI is now flying in German airspace. Together with our partners at Airbus, we are at the disposal of the German Ministry of Defence for whatever they may need and will provide our best possible service. We look forward to implementing a fully successful program.”

Head of UAV PEO, DDR&D, IMOD, said; “We are thrilled with this historic achievement as the Heron-TP RPAS completed its first flight on German airspace. This milestone, made possible through collaborative efforts between Israeli and German governments alongside the IAI and Airbus industries. The Heron-TP RPAS includes advanced capabilities by using cutting-edge technologies integrated into its design.” 

Head of Air Power at Airbus Defence and Space, Mr. Jean-Brice Dumont remarked; “With the German Heron TP, we are building on the success of our close cooperation with Israel Aerospace Industries and the German Armed Forces on the Heron 1. This RPAS has been vital for the safety of German troops and populations in Afghanistan and Mali, while also having supported humanitarian missions. The Heron TP will continue in this tradition and guarantee an unmanned system with outstanding performance and operational readiness, which could also provide additional capabilities for the German Armed Forces in the future due to its modularity, such as maritime surveillance capabilities.”

Posted by William Mackenzie Connect & Contact
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