Israeli Heron UAS conduct naval patrols
Israeli Air Force Heron 1 UAS have begun conducting naval patrols in response to an operational need to improve border protection in the country.
The Herons are conducting routine patrols equipped with radar payloads allowing them to scan large areas and identify potential targets of interest. When a suspicious vessel is located, the UAS flies to position and scans it, giving operators a better understanding of vessels operating in the area. This mission was previously undertaken by the Shachaf maritime patrol aircraft.
The air force expects to equip more UAS for the mission, and up the number of patrol hours in order to improve situational awareness along Israel’s naval borders. The requirement is being driven by the fact that Israel's maritime approaches have played a role in multiple attempted terrorist attacks in the country.
The mission is being carried out by the First UAV Squadron, with each sortie performed by one operator, a mission commander, radar operator and payload operator. Commanders from the air force and navy are involved in mission planning to meet shared goals.
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