As part of the preparations for its delivery to the German Armed Forces, the Heron TP UAV, which was manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), has completed its first flight in the skies of the State of Israel. The UAV was modified according to the needs and requirements of the German Ministry of Defense. It is the result of a joint program led by the UAV Executive Office in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development of the Israel Ministry of Defense, IAI, and Airbus DS Airborne Solutions, an Airbus Group company.
The agreement between the respective 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 are training together with their Israeli counterparts in an IAF base in central Israel.
The German Heron TP UAV is a medium altitude, long endurance, and multi-mission aircraft with a variety of payloads. It is based on the Israeli "Eitan" UAV, which is in operational use in the Israel Air Force. The German Heron TP UAV, which was modified in record time, incorporates advanced Israeli technology.
The head of the UAV Executive Office in the Israel Ministry of Defense, who can only be identified as Col. (Res.) C, said "This is a significant and historic phase in the strategic cooperation between Israel and Germany: an Israeli-developed UAV, produced for the German Air Force, took off for its first flight in Israeli skies. Despite the various challenges we faced, including those brought by the Corona pandemic, we are on schedule. This is thanks to the collaboration and great work done by elements of Germany and Israel’s defense establishments.”
IAI Executive VP and GM of the Military Aircraft Group, Moshe Levy, said "IAI is pleased to mark this important milestone in the Heron TP project for Germany. We thank our partners in the Ministry of Defense and Airbus Group, for their cooperation in this project – a result of which we are going to provide the German Air Force with a system tailored to its operational needs and requirements.”