The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has expanded its fleet of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron TP medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the manufacturer announced on 7 February.
As noted by IAI, the additional platforms will feature new undisclosed capabilities. Neither IAI nor the IAF have revealed how many Heron TPs are currently in service, nor how many new platforms are to be delivered beyond it being a “significant’ number. IAI did, however, say the new aircraft will lead to a 70% increase in flight hours.
Having first entered service with the IAF in 2010, the Heron TP is the service's largest and most sophisticated UAV with a wingspan of 26 m and an all-up weight of 4,650 kg. With a stated operating altitude of 45,000 ft (although it is believed it can fly higher), the Heron TP is reported to have a 40-hour endurance. Although the Heron TP's range figures have not been disclosed, the platform's satellite communications (SATCOM) enable over-the-horizon operations.
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