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German Heron TP crews begin training in Israel

05 February 2019
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Training of German Heron TP MALE RPAS crews began in Israel at the end of January. Source: IAI

Training of German Heron Turboprop (TP) medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) crews began in Israel at the end of January, the Luftwaffe said on its website. It is the first time German military personnel have been stationed in Israel, according to the Luftwaffe.

Luftwaffe personnel are spending eight weeks learning how to operate Heron TP in the reconnaissance role, although it can be armed. Courses are planned for 2019 and 2020, followed by further training in 2021 and 2022.

Colonel Kristof Conrath, commander of Luftwaffengeschwader (Air Force Wing) 51 ‘Immelmann’ – based in Jagel, northern Germany – which is responsible for German Heron TPs and their crews, described the beginning of this training as a “milestone” in Luftwaffe-Israeli Air Force co-operation. He said, “The training is necessary so the system can in future be deployed on missions, like in Afghanistan or Mali”, adding, “Our Israeli partners have extensive experience and a suitable airspace structure. We will take advantage of this.”

Germany will lease five Heron TP unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and four ground stations ordered by Airbus Defence & Space Airborne Solutions from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI); they are adapted for Luftwaffe requirements.

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