UAV health monitoring

Heron TP

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Heron TP
Heron TP

The unmanned air systems (UAS) operated by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) have been strained to their limits during the month of fighting in what was dubbed Operation “Protective Edge”.

An industry source involved in the logistics told i-HLS that the IDF fielded numerous types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). These range from mini UAS like the Skylark, operated by the ground forces, through the Heron and Hermes-450, to the huge Heron TP which the UAS squadrons have been operating “around the clock and then some”.

This demonstrates that in any future combat operation that Israel will be involved in, the autonomous systems will play a major part. The missions are highly diversified. Some are even classified, but the UAS performed a huge number of missions of different types, some under very “tight” conditions.

The IAF has realized some time ago that the increasing use of UAS will demand top availability. This can be achieved only by taking measures across the board.

This is one reason why the IAF is developing health management systems for UAS. The work is being done in the IAF’s unit 108 which is the “electronic unit” of the force.
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AUS&R2015_728x90The unit deals with electronics, but it is actually the hearth and the nerves of all the systems the IAF operates: manned, unmanned and on the ground.

The fact that 50% of operational flight hours of the IAF are being performed by UAS, (in combat the percentage is even higher) underscored the decision to find a way of predicting malfunctions in the different types of UAS.

Health management systems are used now mainly on commercial aircraft. These are on-board sensors that are installed to measure parameters related to the health of an aircraft.

The IAF lost a number of UAS in recent years. In most cases mechanical failure was the reason. As UAS become bigger and carry a variety of payloads, each crash means the loss of a large sum of money.

The new health systems that are being developed now specifically for UAS are designed to give an advanced warning about a problem that is most cases, is developing from a minor one to a critical one that causes the loss of a UAS.