Powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA

Australia farewells Heron UAS capability

Australia farwells Heron UAS capability
The Heron Remotely Piloted Aircraft from No 5 Flight prepares to shutdown on the taxi way after a training sortie in Woomera South Australia. Image via Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.

Remotely piloted aircraft Heron has officially been withdrawn from service with the Royal Australian Air Force.

Australia initially leased the Heron unmanned aerial system (UAS) to fill a capability requirement to support land force operations in Afghanistan.

The Heron flew its last mission from RAAF Base Tindal during Exercise Diamond Storm on 23 June. During this exercise, Heron completed 17 sorties in support of the Air Warfare Instructor Course in an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance electronic warfare (ISREW) role.

Australia's Herons, which are set to be disbanded at the end of the year, played a pivotal role in the RAAF’s ability to deliver air-land integration effects in support of Australia's national security interests including in Afghanistan, where it completed more than 27,000 mission hours during Operation Slipper.

After its last operational mission from Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan on 30 November 2014, Heron then made history by flying in civilian airspace for the first time out of Rockhampton airport during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015. This led to the commencement of operations from its home base at RAAF Base Amberley in 2016.

From January 2010 to November 2014, 5FLT, operating as Task Unit 633.2.7, provided ISREW support to Australian forces and International Security Assistance Force partners in southern Afghanistan. About 500 personnel who were deployed as part of the task unit were recognised.

The RAAF has regularly operated the Heron aircraft in restricted military air space from South Australia's RAAF Base Woomera, the largest land-based test and evaluation facility in the world

A replacement for the UAS capability is set to be acquired through Project AIR 7003 with the acquisition of an armed medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAS, which is scheduled to be delivered after 2020.

The RAAF has embedded personnel in the US Air Force flying the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper UAS.

 

 

 

Australia farewells Heron UAS capability
lawyersweekly logo
FROM THE WEB
Recommended by Spike Native Network

more from defence connect

Nov 21 2018
Asia’s simmering fighter race
As Australia and other regional allies prepares to receive their first F-35s, regional air forces ...
Nov 21 2018
DoD commence sale process for Bulimba Barracks
The Department of Defence has commenced the first stage of the open market sale process for Brisbane...
Nov 21 2018
F-35 countdown: Fifth-gen training VR for the future fighter
Virtual reality (VR) is now reshaping the training environment for Australia’s F-35, enabling im...