The German Ministry of Defence procurement agency (BAAInBw) and Airbus Defence and Space have signed a contract to provide Heron 1 unmanned surveillance aircraft to support the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) mission in Mali.

Similar to the mission in Afghanistan active since 2010, the unmanned aerial systems will be leased from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and operated by Airbus. The operations in Mali will start in November 2016 and are initially planned until February 2018.

On 1 July 2016, the Bundeswehr has taken over responsibility for the intelligence unit in Mali from the Netherlands.

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