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Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Heron-1 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) recently marked its 70,000th flight hour in Afghanistan, after less than 7 years of operation in the country. This follows Heron’s completion of 25,000 flight hours last month under German Air Force operations in Afghanistan.

After successful use in Afghanistan by several Western NATO members, including Germany, France Canada and Australia, this milestone demonstrates Heron’s compatibility with challenging conditions in various areas around the world.

In an announcement from the Australian Ministry of Defense, Senator David Johnston, the Australian Minister of Defense said:  “The Heron is a proven capability– providing ‘eyes in the sky’ for our troops in the Middle East. The retention of the system following their withdrawal from Afghanistan will ensure that Australia remains at the forefront of this advancing technology.”

Heron-1 is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAS that provides crucial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information in real-time to commanders and frontline soldiers. It has significant capabilities, such as carrying a wide variety of sensors, which are able to provide real-time information over a wide area for an extended period. IAI is continuously raising the bar by further improving this system, as the new generation of the Heron family is based on the vast knowledge and experience accumulated in over four decades of planning, developing, manufacturing and operating UAS. IAI’s UAS have reached over 1.35 million flight hours used by more than 50 global customers. The Heron family alone has accumulated more than 250,000 operational flight hours worldwide.

Shaul Shahar, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of IAI’s Military Aircraft Group, said: “The remarkable number of operational flight hours in Afghanistan demonstrates Heron’s reliability and unique operational availability in a variety of missions in ground, maritime and aerial arenas.”