Super Heron UAV is a ‘heavy’ upgrade

It looks almost the same, but in fact, it’s a new breed of unmanned air vehicle. Israel Aerospace Industries has unveiled the Super Heron UAV at the Singapore air show.

The Super Heron is a more advanced version of the medium-altitude long-endurance Heron UAV.

Developed by IAI to meet growing interest from customers, the Super Heron features a heavy fuel 200hp (149kW) engine and an advanced propulsion system, which significantly improves the UAV’s capacity, rate of climb and performance.

Many of its features are still classified but the company will say that the Super Heron’s advanced avionics, triple redundancy and advanced computerised systems enhance its growth potential. Upgraded processing capabilities, increased electrical power and standard interface architecture allow for the simple integration of new payloads. And payloads are at the heart of the system, as it can carry a wide variety of them, including some very “exotic” ones.

“It’s like a combination of a Mack truck with a sports car,” said one Israeli source.

The “dry” facts tell only part of the story, but are interesting nevertheless. The Super Heron’s mission radius is 135nm (250km) within line of sight and 540nm beyond line of sight. Its endurance is 45h with a flight ceiling of 30,000ft (9,150m). Loiter speed is 60-80kt (111-148km/h), with a top air speed in excess of 150kt. Maximum take-off weight is 1,450kg (3,190lb) with a payload weight of up to 450kg.

It does all this with an improved, 17m wing.

The heavy fuel engine has been installed after a series of test flights and in response to demand from many forces, which want an engine compatible with the most common fuel in the field and to increase safety.

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