Made-for-Germany Israeli Heron TP UAV Marks First Flight Over German Airspace

Heron TP serves as an interim solution following the retirement of the earlier Heron 1 UAS and preceding the introduction of the new Eurodrone
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 02:03 PM, May 15, 2024
  • 1006
Made-for-Germany Israeli Heron TP UAV Marks First Flight Over German Airspace
German Heron TP (GHTP) @Airbus

The German Heron TP (GHTP), a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) developed through collaboration between Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Israeli Ministry of Defense's Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), and Airbus, performed its maiden flight in German airspace today.

This flight marks a crucial step in the joint venture aimed at fulfilling the specific requirements of the German Ministry of Defence.

The development of the GHTP involved close cooperation between Airbus, IAI, DDR&D, and representatives from the German Armed Forces. This joint effort resulted in a customized RPAS tailored to the advanced operational needs of the German military.

The GHTP is a critical component of a joint Israeli-German project managed by Airbus and IAI, aimed at enhancing airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. This solution includes not only the provision and modification of the RPAS but also comprehensive training, operation, maintenance, and repair support for the German Air Force.

Equipped with optical, imaging radar reconnaissance, and SIGINT capabilities, the GHTP offers expanded strategic and tactical capabilities to the German Armed Forces, ensuring interoperability with NATO partners. Notably, it is the only RPAS in its class certified in compliance with STANAG 4671 standards.

The GHTP is part of IAI's Heron family of RPAS, succeeding the Heron 1, which has previously served the German Air Force during deployments in Afghanistan and Mali.

The Heron TP serves as an interim solution following the retirement of the earlier Heron 1 UAS and preceding the introduction of the new Eurodrone, a European medium-altitude long-endurance UAS. Airbus Defence and Space is currently operating five Heron TP air vehicles until 2027.

Made-for-Germany Israeli Heron TP UAV Marks First Flight Over German Airspace
Heron TPs armed with precision-guided missiles @German MoD

Equipped with electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensors and imaging radar systems, the Heron TP is tailored for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Notably, it is certified to carry the IAI (Tamam) M-19HD EO sensor turret, featuring zoom and spotter high-definition (HD) day cameras, an HD IR zoom camera, laser designator, laser rangefinder, laser pointer, near-IR laser illuminator, electron-multiplying charge-coupled device camera, and short-wave IR camera. The aircraft is also outfitted with satellite communications and Bundeswehr data/voice encryption systems to support its operational capabilities.

Heron-TP lease

In 2018, Germany's parliamentary budget committee greenlit a €1 billion ($1.2 billion) military lease for Israeli-made Heron-TP drones, extending through 2027.

This deal comprises two contracts: the first, valued at $600 million, involves IAI and Europe's Airbus managing all operational aspects, including support and maintenance. Airbus, on Germany's behalf, entered a $600 million leasing agreement with Israeli weapon manufacturer IAI for five Heron TP drones, with a nine-year contract and options for a three-year extension.

The second contract, directly with the Israeli Defense Ministry, covers training, infrastructure, and logistics. The long-endurance drones will reside in Israel when not in use by Germany.

In October 2023, Germany reportedly authorized Israel to deploy two Heron TP combat drones in operations against Hamas. Currently, two drones are stationed at Israel’s Palmahim Air Base, where German drone pilots undergo training.

Also Read

Germany to Send Leased Heron-TP Drones to Israel

October 13, 2023 @ 11:15 AM

Germany May Receive Israeli Heron-TP UAVs without Weapons

December 18, 2020 @ 09:49 AM

Heron TP UAV for Germany Completes First FLight

July 26, 2020 @ 01:56 PM
FEATURES/INTERVIEWS