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Airbus Defense and Space and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), worldwide leaders in the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) market, signed today a teaming agreement at ILA, to continue providing unmanned aerial systems to the German Forces.
The cooperation agreement includes the supply of UAS under the MALE UAS Bridging Solution of the German MOD. The current contract between the Bundeswehr and Airbus for IAI’s Heron 1 UAS currently expires in 2015, and Germany is looking for a “Bridging solution” with upgraded features, which will enable it to maintain its surveillance capabilities until the arrival of a European developed UAS in 2020.
Airbus Defense and Space and IAI’s proposal is based on the MALE UAS Heron TP, a successor of the Heron 1 currently used by the Bundeswehr. Based on the successfully established lease-operate-maintain-partnership with the German forces, Airbus Defense and Space already operates the Heron 1 UAS in Afghanistan, where it so far clocked up over 18,500 flight hours.
Airbus and IAI are currently offering two options for the bridging solution: A purchase option, and the already well-proven leasing concept. With this concept, Germany would benefit from leaving responsibility for maintenance work, supply parts’ logistics and operations with the industry. As already done today, the Bundeswehr would be able to focus directly on the mission’s success and could rely on the contractually guaranteed availability of the entire unmanned aerial system from the industrial cooperation.