Germany said interested in buying Israeli drones

Berlin eyes IAI’s Eitan unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, which has a range of 4,600 miles and can stay airborne for 70 hours

The Eitan (Heron TP) UAV (Tsahi Ben-Ami/Flash90)
The Eitan (Heron TP) UAV (Tsahi Ben-Ami/Flash90)

Germany has expressed interest in buying Israeli-made unmanned reconnaissance airplanes, Army Radio reported Tuesday.

The German military is eyeing Israel Aerospace Industries’ Eitan (“Steadfast”) drone, also known as the Heron, which has a range of over 7,400 kilometers (4,600 miles), more than four times the distance between Israel and Iran. It can also remain airborne for more than 70 hours.

The purchase would serve a temporary need until 2025, when Germany, Italy and France expect to complete development of a joint drone.

In September, the Indian government approved a $400 million (NIS 1.58 billion) deal to buy ten missile-armed Eitan drones from Israel for the Indian Air Force, India’s Economic Times reported, calling it “a crucial acquisition that will enhance India’s cross-border military strike capability.”

The Indian Air Force also operates a fleet of Harpy drones from Israel, which are self-destructing systems built chiefly to destroy enemy radar positions, the paper reported.

In 2012, the London-based Sunday Times reported that in the event of Iranian attempts to fire missiles at Israel, Jerusalem would deploy Eitan drones stationed in neighboring Azerbaijan to destroy the missiles before they left the ground.

In February last year, Israel Aerospace Industries unveiled its new Super Heron HF unmanned aircraft, an upgrade to the current Heron 1 model.

The medium-altitude, long-endurance surveillance aircraft was presented at the biennial Singapore Airshow under the tagline “The best just got better.”

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