German Ministry of Defence Seeks Special Weapon Systems Carried by Heron TP Heavy UAV

By Arie Egozi

Defence Industry

Tel Aviv: The German ministry of defence has recently requested to buy some of the special weapon systems that are carried by the Israeli made Heron TP heavy UAV. The UAV is now used by the German Air Force as part of a leasing contract. The list includes some highly classified weapon systems that have been developed for the Heron-TP operated by the Israeli Air Force.

These weapons were used in a long list of operations performed by the Israeli Air Force “near and far” from Israeli borders, according to a defence source.

The German request for the special weapon systems stems from the fact that these systems were developed to “talk” with the other systems carried by this UAV. The Heron TP UAV that Germany leases from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) are a special version that have been adapted to the European regulations.

According to IAI, the main changes are in the UAV’s avionic system. The Heron –TP is the largest UAV manufactured by IAI.

The agreement between the respective defence ministries was signed in June 2018. The agreement outlines the leasing of a number of UAVs as well as maintenance and training services. As such, German Air Force personnel have trained in an Israeli Air Force base in central Israel.

The UAV have been leased for a period of nine years and are capable of carrying “unique air-to-ground weapon systems”. According to the German Defence Ministry, these weapons are capable of aborting their trajectory towards the target in case civilians may be hurt.

The arming of the MALE UAV was in the hearth of the internal debate in Germany before the deal was approved. German sources said that during the negotiations “several options to use Israeli developed weapons have been evaluated”.

The IAI Heron TP is a multi-role, advanced, long range Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV for strategic missions. It is equipped with automatic taxi-take-off and landing systems (ATOL), satellite communication (SATCOM) for extended range, fully redundant avionics and more.

The Heron TP was designed as a multi-mission platform to address local and international customers’ needs and to perform a variety of strategic missions, including intelligence gathering, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance, using various payloads, with a high level of reliability.

Now after Israel removed the gag order on the fact that it uses armed UAV’s, it became public that the Heron TP is used for attack missions.

The Heron TP IS 14 metres long , has a wing span of 26 meters and a max t/o weight of 5670 kg. It can carry a  payload weighing 2700 kg. Max ceiling is 45.000  feet, max speed is 220 knots and endurance is 30 hours.