- The Republic of Singapore Air Force has declared full operational capability on the Heron 1 unmanned aerial vehicle
- Platform enhances Singapore intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, including in non-conventional operations
The Republic of Singapore Air Force has declared full operational capability on the Heron 1 unmanned aerial vehicle
Platform enhances Singapore intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, including in non-conventional operations
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has attained full operational capability (FOC) on its fleet of IAI Heron 1 medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
A ceremony to mark the milestone, officiated by the country's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, was held on 15 March at the service's UAV Command in Murai Camp. The aircraft are operated across the RSAF's 119 and 128 squadrons, and was first inaugurated by the service in May 2012 to progressively replace the service's fleet of Searcher UAVs that entered service in the mid-1990s.
"The Heron 1 can be deployed with fighters and attack helicopters, amplifying the SAF's precision strike capabilities," said Ng, during his speech at the ceremony to mark the FOC. "Apart from these conventional operations, it can also be deployed against terrorist threats, because its persistence enables it to cover a wide area of surveillance," he added.
The Heron 1 features an overall length of 8.8 m, a wingspan of 16.6 m, a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 1,100 kg, and a payload capacity of 250 kg. With an endurance of more than 24 hours, the platform can attain a maximum operating range of about 200 km, and achieve cruise speeds of between 60 and 70 kt.
According to the RSAF, its Heron 1s have each been equipped with electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) turret and a laser designator to assist with target acquisitions, including when operating in tandem with the RSAF's fighter aircraft and attack helicopters.
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