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German Heron 1 UAV completes one year in Mali
Bundeswehr Heron 1. © Bundeswehr

German Heron 1 UAV completes one year in Mali

The three IAI Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) deployed at Gao air base in Mali logged their 3,000th flight hour in November 2017.

Airbus Defence & Space reports that the IAI Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system, which is stationed at the Gao air base for the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) as part of the UN’s MINUSMA mission, logged its 3,000th flight hour in November 2017.

The system’s maiden flight took place in Mali on 1 November 2016 after the contract was signed in June 2016. When added to the Heron 1’s operations for the German Armed Forces in Afghanistan, the Air Force’s UAV system has chalked up more than 38,000 flight hours.

Both places of deployment are being managed using a joint operator model between the Bundeswehr and industry. As with the Heron 1’s operations in Afghanistan, the provision, maintenance and repair of the system in Mali is the responsibility of Airbus Defence and Space in Bremen.

Three Heron 1 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) aircraft are stationed at the air base in Gao, located in northeastern Mali, from where the vehicle can perform reconnaissance missions — mainly focused on crisis regions — at ranges up to 800km. The reconnaissance results are made available to the Joint Mission Analysis Centre (JMAC) for the MINUSMA mission.

System readiness is reported as being well above 90%.

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