Singapore Heron 1 attains FOC
The Republic of Singapore Air Force's (RSAF) two squadrons of IAI Heron 1 MALE UAVs achieved full operational capability (FOC) on 15 March.
'The FOC of Heron 1 brings the RSAF's unmanned aerial capabilities to the level of advanced militaries globally,' said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.
According to the SIPRI arms transfer report, five units were acquired in 2010 to replace 40 IAI Searchers that has been in service since the mid-1990s. Based at Murai Camp, the first Heron 1 squadron, 119 Squadron, was inaugurated in May 2012.
In the past five years the RSAF has worked on training UAV operators, validating the aircraft and systems and, more importantly, networking with the entire Singapore Armed Forces.
Seen in Exercise Forging Sabre in 2015, the Heron 1 was able to hunt, track and lase targets for RSAF aircraft, thus shortening the sense-shoot time. The Heron 1 also deployed to Exercise Wallaby for validation in a large ground force exercise, and to Exercise Cope Tiger where it was involved in multilateral joint training.
The Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) made enhancements to the ground control station to make the human-machine interface more intuitive. The DSTA also improved the data link to enable the Heron 1 to stream high-quality data in a highly congested network.