Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) today unveiled its new medium altitude long endurance (MALE) Super Heron UAV at the 2014 Singapore Airshow. The Super Heron has a 17-meter wingspan and a maximum payload weight of 450 kilograms and takeoff weight of 1,450 kilograms. It was developed in secret over years. IAI CEO Joseph Weiss told "Globes" that the company already has potential customers lined up worldwide.
The Super Heron's main innovation, compared with the Heron UAV, is its innovative engine, which gives it greater flexibility and higher speed. Instead of an aviation fuel engine used by other Herons, the Super Heron uses a 200-horsepower diesel engine and advanced motor that enables it fly at over 150 knots and gives it a faster rate of climb. "The new UAV's improved engine gives it a somewhat bigger and heftier look than the other Herons," said Weiss.
The Super Heron has 45 hours endurance, a flight ceiling of 30,000 feet, and a loiter speed of 60-80 knots. It is equipped with satellite communications and state-of-the-art avionics. It was redesigned for simplified and easier use of payloads, attached under the wings, in order to operate new payloads for different future missions.
The Super Heron's configurations are suitable for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance, maritime patrol, and other missions. "The Super Heron greatly expands the mission capabilities of UAVs," says Weiss. "Its development reflects our continuous investment in UAVs and advanced technologies. We previously identified this sector as a key growth engine for the company."
Weiss says that the Super Heron was developed quickly because it was adapted from the Heron and Heron TP platforms. "The Super Heron's use of a diesel engine greatly improves its operational safety," he says. He adds that while potential foreign customers have shown great interest in the Super Heron, "The Israel Air Force is sitting on the sidelines," and has not yet made a decision to procure the new UAV.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 11, 2014
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