Joseph Weiss, Israel Aerospace Industry CEO, stands by the company's new Super Heron at the Singapore Airshow. (Israel Aerospace Industry)
SINGAPORE — A heavy fuel version of Israel Aerospace Industry’s big-selling Heron UAV literally had the wraps taken off on the opening day of the Singapore Airshow Feb. 11.
Joseph Weiss, the president and CEO of the state-owned Israeli company, ordered a huge blue shroud to be removed from the Super Heron Heavy Fuel machine parked on the apron outside the company’s chalet in a ceremony here today to formally reveal the UAV.
With the shroud gone, the latest member of the Heron family was revealed as having slightly bigger dimensions than before and some minor redesign around the rear fuselage.
Visually, the main difference was the incorporation of upturned wingtips. But it’s under the engine covers where the main innovation can be found over earlier Heron versions.
IAI engineers have installed a 200-horsepower heavy fuel (diesel) engine instead of the 115 horsepower aviation fuel engine used by other Heron 1 variants.
Diesel fuel offers several benefits, including greater safety in transport and commonality with other engines used on today’s battlefield.
Weiss said the new generation medium-altitude high-endurance UAV will be faster and offer significant capability enhancements and improved rates of climb compared with previous Herons.
Air speed will exceed 150 knots compared with the present Heron figure of 115 knots; maximum takeoff weight has increased 200 kilograms to 1,450 kilograms. Payload weight is 450 kilograms, said the company in a statement.
The UAV made its first flight last October.
The machine is already being offered in export markets and Shepard Media reported that the Super Heron HF is competing with Elbit to supply the Swiss military with a heavy fuel-powered machine. A selection is expected later this year. ■