This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
The Israeli air force (IAF) is a major operator of unmanned air systems (UAS). Until recently there was a “man in the loop” mainly in the shape of an external pilot , in charge of takeoffs and landing of some of the systems.
The IAF is equipping all its Israel aerospace industries (IAI) Heron-1 (Shoval) with an automatic takeoff and landing systems.
This will make the task of the external pilot redundant and he will control take offs and landings only in “Special” circumstances.
The process has begun a few years ago and will be completed by year’s end.
The Heron – 1 UAS is used extensively by the IAF for a large variety of missions including maritime patrol.
The auto takeoff and landing system that was installed in the Heron-1 , is similar to the one installed in the Heron -TP (Eitan) the largest and heaviest UAS in the IAF inventory.
experts say that the automatic system in the Heron-1 will give the UAS greater operational flexibility and will increase the operational safety.