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Germany’s Heron TP Drone Takes Maiden Flight

The German Air Force’s new Heron TP remotely-piloted aircraft has taken its maiden flight in Germany, bringing it a step closer to finally achieving full operational capability.

The flight test was conducted more than two years after the country announced it was purchasing 140 Heron TP drones from Israel, a move prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

During the event, the medium-altitude, long-endurance drone flew out of its future home base, Schleswig Air Base, in northern Germany.

The Heron is known for its flight endurance of 30 hours, range of up to 1,000 kilometers (621 miles), and altitude of 45,000 feet (13,716 meters). It has a maximum speed of 220 knots (407 kilometers/253 miles per hour).

The drone’s maiden flight in Germany demonstrates both its advanced performance and operational readiness.


‘Filling the Void’

Originally manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Heron TP is a multi-role, long-endurance drone designed to carry out strategic missions, including target acquisition, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

The German version, which is tailored to the needs of the German Armed Forces, was made possible by the collaboration between IAI, Israel’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development, and Airbus.

It has been modified to carry a range of sensors for improved optical and imaging radar reconnaissance, as well as signals intelligence and maritime monitoring.

“The German Heron TP enables the German Armed Forces to expand its strategic and tactical capabilities, while ensuring interoperability with NATO partners,” Airbus stated.

The Heron is expected to fill the void left by the now-decommissioned Heron 1 and the upcoming launch of the Eurodrone.

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