Rabu, Agustus 25, 2010

RAAF Heron contract extended

As yet unconfirmed reports indicate that the RAAF, as part of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, will continue to utilise Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of Australia’s Project NANKEEN, in cooperation with the Canadian Defence Forces.

According to one report, experts believe the contract could reach “tens of millions of dollars”.

Almost a year into the project, the ADF have announced that they will continue to benefit from the essential operational capabilities the Heron UAV offers in Afghanistan for another year, starting in January 2011.

Project NANKEEN was made possible with the cooperation of Canadian company MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd (MDA).

In August 2008 IAI and MDA were awarded a contract worth approximately US$81 million by the Canadian Ministry of Defense to provide Heron UAVs as part of the Canadian NOCTUA project.

Within five months of contract signature, Canadian forces were flying the Heron in Afghanistan.

Over the last three decades, IAI’s UAVs have been sold to more than 47 customers, including the Israel Air Force, the US army, and armies in Asia and Europe.

Six armed forces are currently operating IAI’s UAVs in Afghanistan: Spain, Australia, the US, Canada, France, and Germany.

IAI’s UAVs have logged approximately 750,000 operational flight hours to date, over 15,000 of which were in Afghanistan.

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