Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Airbus DS Airborne Solutions, a subsidiary of Airbus DS, have successfully completed 200 flight hours with the maritime Heron Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems as part of marine patrol and coastal guard missions on Crete, Greece, say the two companies. The Heron flew in European civilian airspace under a civilian code.
Flying for FRONTEX, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, the maritime Heron performed a series of flights equipped with an electro-optical payload for day and night vision, a marine radar made by IAI and an automatic identification receiver. Each mission lasted 14 hours on average. The surveillance platform Heron 1 used a direct link when flying within Line of Sight (LOS), switching seamlessly to a satellite link when flying Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) to transmit real time information to multiple users in real time.
IAI and Airbus were selected by FRONTEX in a contract that includes operating the RPAS in daily security and coastal guard missions, maintenance and more. IAI and Airbus will provide the service for pre-planned assignments as well as for ad-hoc calls. The current contract covers 600 flight hours and may be extended into a longer-term agreement.
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