The German parliament has approved a budget for the use of a fourth "Heron 1" UAV for reconnaissance purposes as part of the German army's operations under the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. The Heron 1 is produced by Israel Aerospace Industries. With the four UAVs, the reconnaissance missions will be carried out from two ground control stations. This means that two of the unmanned systems can be deployed continuously and at the same time. Necessary maintenance and repairs will no longer reduce operational capacity.
German website esut.de said that the German Army has been using the Heron 1 for reconnaissance in Mali since 2016. In 2020, in light of the West African country's deteriorating security situation, the UN requested that the aerial reconnaissance for the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) be expanded and made more flexible. A new operation contract with Airbus Defense & Space Airborne Solutions runs until the end of April 2024. Airbus is responsible for the provision, maintenance and repair of the Heron 1 and the ground control stations. German Army soldiers are responsible for operating the reconnaissance systems.