Deleted image shows Singapore air force Heron 1 UAV with new belly payload pod

by Kelvin Wong

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has inadvertently revealed the existence of an enhanced version of its Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron 1 medium altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (MALE UAV) during the biennial ‘Forging Sabre’ exercise being staged from Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, United States, from 30 September to 10 October.

Singapore’s primary long-endurance UAV is the IAI Heron 1, which was declared fully operational in March 2017. An example is seen at an earlier ‘Forging Sabre’ exercise in Arizona without the belly pod seen at the latest iteration of the biennial event. (IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong)

Singapore’s primary long-endurance UAV is the IAI Heron 1, which was declared fully operational in March 2017. An example is seen at an earlier ‘Forging Sabre’ exercise in Arizona without the belly pod seen at the latest iteration of the biennial event. (IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong)

An image published by Singapore-based news agency CNA on 7 October clearly showed an RSAF Heron 1 UAV that has been equipped with a belly mounted bulged pod – housing an undisclosed external sensor payload – being towed at the airbase. The image was quietly removed for unknown reasons by the morning of 8 October and replaced by an image of another RSAF Heron 1 UAV without the belly pod.

According to the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the air vehicle is being tasked to perform co-operative lasing with other airborne and ground-based assets to detect, track, and designate multiple moving targets. Real-time intelligence is streamed back to the RSAF’s command post at the airbase, which employs artificial intelligence (AI)-driven decision support software called the Automatic Target Detection (ATD) and Target Look Ahead (TLA) systems to enhance targeting accuracy and efficiency of the service’s F-15SG and F-16C/D multirole combat aircraft.


        A Heron 1 UAV is seen taking off with an underbelly pod housing a maritime surveillance radar. A similar pod has been seen with at least one of the Heron 1 air vehicles deployed by the Republic of Singapore Air Force at Exercise ‘Forging Sabre’ 2019 in a deleted image seen by
        Jane’s
        .
       (Israel Aerospace Industries)

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/deleted-image-shows-singapore-air-force-heron-1-uav-with-new-belly-payload-pod

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) has inadvertently revealed the existence of an enhanced v...

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