Update: 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 that was staged from Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, United States, from 30 September to 10 October.

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.

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, US, 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, US, without the belly pod seen at the latest iteration of the biennial event. (IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong)

Jane’s understands from industry sources that the external sensor package was first trialled at the 2017 edition of the exercise, with at least two air vehicles configured for wide-area intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

At the time the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) also debuted an indigenously developed command-and-control (C2) system that can integrate the Heron 1’s video feeds into an augmented reality display and supported by advanced video analytics software.

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/update-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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