Thursday, November 19, 2009

IAI to hold demonstrations of its Heron UAV for Panama security forces

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is strengthening its position in Central and South America and in the coming year will hold demonstrations of its Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for Panama security forces.

In May, the IAI-made Heron underwent a month-long evaluation by the United States Southern Command and the Salvadoran military to judge its suitability for counter-drug missions in South America and the Pacific. It was the first time that the drone, designed for intelligence gathering and surveillance, was used in counter-drug operations.

The demonstration in Panama, officials said Tuesday, would also focus on counter-drug operations, as well as border security. Officials said that teams from the Brazilian Police were already in Israel undergoing a course to learn how to use the Heron UAV.

Last week, the Brazilian government announced that it was prepared to sign a $350 million deal to purchase Heron UAVs to patrol its cities and borders and provide security for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

The Heron, which already flies missions in Afghanistan on behalf of the Canadian military and was also recently sold to the German military, is capable of remaining in the air for close to two days straight without refueling. It can fly at an altitude of 30,000 ft, making it a difficult target for standard anti-aircraft weapons. It has the ability to carry a 250 kg payload, while the IAI's smaller Searcher UAV carries only 100 kg.

The Heron has a wingspan of 16.6 meters and weighs 1,200 kg, with an operational range of hundreds of kilometers and the ability to fly in all weather conditions.

Brazil to buy $350 million worth of drones from Israel

Israel Aerospace Industries on Wednesday signed a $350 million contract to supply drones to Brazil police - marking the largest such deal between Israel and Brazil. The deal was signed during President Peres' official visit to Brazil, but negotiations began months ago.

The deal will be implemented in several phases, the first of which will include the transfer of three unmanned planes along with accompanying equipment, including a base station, control and inspection systems. This part of the deal will take place within the year.
The second phase allows Brazil to purchase 11 additional drones.

The drones in question are the latest model developed by IAI, which has been sold to other countries as well. This will be the model's first use by a police force. Brazil intends to use the drones to oversee its borders, which run approximately 60,000 kilometers, and also to prevent arms smuggling.

The unmanned planes will also help increase security in Brazil prior to the World Cup games in 2014 and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. IAI has stepped up its operations in Brazil over the past year. About six months ago it established a joint venture company with the Synergy Group, whose operations include unmanned Aerial Vehicles, advanced systems, radar and antimissile systems.

About three months ago IAI conducted a successful test of its Heron UAV for the Brazilian federal police, for use in missions to fight drug trafficking and the theft of natural resources.


The trend seems to be multi-role two-seater plus a whole assortment of UAV/UCAV.

During Dubai 09' a Russian brass asked his UAE counterpart whether he really thinks UCAV can realistically breach IADS. The UAE brass answered that UCAVs can come in all sizes and shapes. There is no telling of how unmanned aircraft will be like in 2020.

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