The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) officially announced Full Operational Capability (FOC) for the Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on 15th March. The UAVs are deployed with 119 and 128 squadrons of the RSAF.
The IAI Heron 1 carries a Multi-mission Optronic Stabilised Payload (MOSP) equipped with a 3rd Generation Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) system. It offers 24-hour endurance and a range of around 200km. It is networked to share real-time data and conduct precision missions alongside fighters and attack helicopters.
The announcement signifies that RSAF personnel are now fully trained and qualified to operate, maintain and deploy the Heron 1 across its full spectrum of capabilities. The RSAF received the Heron 1 in 2012.
According to local media reports, a large number of exercises have already been peformed to develop the concept of operations, including Forging Sabre in the U.S. in 2015.
The Heron replaces the Searcher, which has been in service with the RSAF since 1994. The RSAF also uses the Elbit Systems Hermes 450, which achieved FOC in 2015.