Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) supplying Heron Mk 2s medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (MALE UAV) to India. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) signed an MoU with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for the leasing, operation and maintenance of fixed-wing UAVs to the Indian military at DefExpo 2022 on 19 October. Fittingly, this was preceded by IAI opening a new subsidiary called Aerospace Services India (ASI) in Delhi. ASI will provide product lifecycle support services for IAI-based air defence systems in India. HAL has engaged in depot-level maintenance of all IAI UAVs in India for around two decades. IAI said it had established, with local collaboration, a MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operation) dedicated to unmanned aerial vehicles.
The IAI Heron (Machatz-1) is a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by the Malat (UAV) division of Israel Aerospace Industries. The Heron navigates using an internal GPS navigation device, and either a pre-programmed flight profile, manual override from a ground control station, or a combination of both. It is capable of MALE operations of up to 52 hours’ duration at up to 10.5 km (35,000 ft). Heron MK II is a MALE UAV, and is an updated model of the Heron UAV, which is used by the Israeli Air Force and is operational with over 20 other organizations worldwide. Using the most advanced technologies developed by IAI to date, the Heron MK II is a strategic and versatile aircraft capable of carrying diverse payloads.
Fitted with a Rotax 916 iS engine, the Heron MK II can reach an altitude of 35,000 feet, a maximum speed of 140 knots and can remain in the air for 45 consecutive hours. Due to improved manufacturing technologies, the Heron MK II has a wider and stronger body structure, allowing for quick and easy maintenance without adding to its weight. The Heron MK II enables new configurations, as long-range observation Sensors and Radars, and can carry a wide range of additional payloads such as ELINT, COMINT, ESM, Communication Relay, Special and more. The standout feature of the Heron MK II is its ability to perform Standoff Capability, gathering intelligence from tens of kilometers away without crossing borders, thanks to its ability to carry larger and improved sensors.
Israel Aerospace Industries or IAI is Israel’s major aerospace and aviation manufacturer, producing aerial and astronautic systems for both military and civilian usage. It has 15,000 employees as of 2018. IAI is completely state-owned by the government of Israel. IAI designs, develops, produces and maintains civil aircraft, drones, fighter aircraft, missile, avionics, and space-based systems. Although IAI’s main focus is engineering, aviation and high-tech electronics, it also manufactures military systems for ground and naval forces. Many of these products are specially suited for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) needs, while others are also marketed to foreign militaries.