It could have been considered another demonstration aimed at convincing a potential client to buy. But it is much more than that.
Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Heron Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) has crossed the Andes during an operational flight demonstration in a South American country.
The demonstration flight was performed last month and according to IAI, the Heron showed its advanced abilities for long-range missions using satellite communication for control and activation.
The UAS was carrying a synthetic aperture radar (SAR), electro-optical payload for day and night use and a communication intelligence system.
The Heron reliably performed various day and night flights during several days of activity, at ranges extending more than 270nm (500km) and at altitudes in excess of 25,000ft (7,625m).
The Israeli manufacturer says that the system successfully demonstrated its performance under extreme weather conditions, which are typical of the Andes, including strong winds, heavy cloud cover and icing conditions.
On closer inspection, this demonstration is paving the way for very advanced UAS. The technology is racing ahead, with more capabilities that are fitted to be used on UAS.
There is no doubt that a very meaningful part of the across-the-board development effort of “mission support” systems is focused on the UAS market. We can expect some real breakthroughs.