Israeli company unveils new Super Heron drone

At Singapore airshow IAI developers show off advanced surveillance UAV, boasting higher speed and a more efficient engine

Itamar Sharon is a news editor at The Times of Israel

The IAI Super Heron (screen capture: YouTube)
The IAI Super Heron (screen capture: YouTube)

Israeli Aerospace Industries on Tuesday unveiled its new Super Heron HF unmanned aircraft, an upgrade to the current Heron 1 model.

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

The UAV sports a new 200-horsepower heavy fuel engine, an improvement over the previous model’s 115-horsepower engine. The new engine, which uses diesel fuel instead of standard aviation fuel, requires less maintenance, is safer to transport and is common to many military vehicles.

The drone also features a significant improvement in airspeed, maxing out at 150 knots (170 mph) compared to the Heron 1’s 115 knots (130 mph). Maximum lift-off weight has also been improved by 200 kilograms and stands at 1,450 kilograms, with a top payload weight of 450 kilograms.

Like the Heron 1, the new model can remain airborne for up to 45 hours straight at a max altitude of 30,000 feet. It features improved onboard technology including upgraded sensors, radar and communication systems.

“We are proud to present the new generation of IAI UAVs,” IAI CEO Yossi Weiss said, calling the Super Heron a global industry leader. The Heron 1, he added, “has been internationally acclaimed for its unique feats and advanced capabilities.”

The Heron 1 is in use by militaries around the world and IAI said it has accumulated 250,000 operational flight hours.

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