Following this year’s 410th flight on 16 November 2015, the Heron 1 Unmanned aircraft System (UAS), which is jointly operated by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) and Airbus Defence and Space Airborne Solutions, landed in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, bringing the total number of flight hours it has completed in the country up to 25,000.
The unmanned aircraft’s satellite data link makes it possible to monitor the entire northern half of the country.
Manufactured by the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Heron 1 is a medium altitude long endurance unmanned aircraft system. The aircraft has a wingspan of 17m and a typical mission endurance of over 24h. The Heron 1’s tasks include detecting booby traps from the air, accompanying convoys and patrols, assisting forces in combat situations, reconnaissance and surveilling routes, establishing movement profiles, long-term monitoring, supporting situational assessments, and protecting property and military camps.
Airbus Defence and Space is responsible for operating the systems and guarantees the operational readiness of Heron 1 in Afghanistan as agreed on the basis of an operator model.