German Bundeswehr's Heron 1 UAV starts surveillance mission in Mali

World Aviation Defense & Security News - Germany
German Bundeswehr's Heron 1 UAV starts surveillance mission in Mali
The German Bundeswehr Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial system (UAS) Heron 1 flew its first operational mission in Mali on 1 November from Gao airport. The 5 hour 40 minutes flight was fully successful and occurred only about three months following the initial contract signature, Airbus DS announced on Nov. 3, 2016.
German Bundeswhe s Heron 1 UAV starts urveillance mission in Mali 640 001German Bundeswehr's Heron 1 taking off for its first surveillance mission in Mali
(Credit: Bundeswehr)
Similar to the operator model for the Heron 1 in Afghanistan, Airbus DS Airborne Solutions GmbH (ADAS), a subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space, is responsible for the provision, maintenance and overhaul of the system in Mali.

This operation follows a specific agreement signed on 21 July by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) and ADAS. The deployment of the Heron 1 in Mali is planned initially until February 2018.

The first flight is an important step to obtain the declaration of full operational capability (FOC). To achieve FOC, three aircraft will be stationed in Gao and reconnaissance missions will be carried out focusing on the north-east of the country in order to protect the citizens and MINUSMA personnel.

With a range of up to 800 kilometers, the Heron 1 system substantially extends the reach of aerial reconnaissance in the region. The reconnaissance results are made available to the joint evaluation center of the MINUSMA Mission, contributing to increased security for all employees involved in this UN deployment.

Heron 1 is an unmanned aerial system for medium altitude and long-term endurance (MALE) above the respective area of operation and is made by the Israeli manufacturer IAI. The aircraft has a wingspan of seventeen meters and has a maximum mission endurance of more than twenty-four hours.