Malat, a division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), has been selected by the Australian customs service to supply unmanned air vehicles for its northern Australia-based operation.
The customs service issued a tender last year for UAVs to be used as an alternative platform to the ageing de Havilland Dash 7 twin turboprops in service.
The main mission is to detect illegal immigrants that try to land on the country's beaches. According to Yair Dubester, general manager of Malat, the Heron 1, equipped with an Elta maritime radar and Tamam elctro-optic payload, will be tested during April in the patrolled area.
A satcom system will enable the Heron 1 to relay real-time images over a great distance. The one-month demonstration will be funded by the Australian government.
Last year the Israeli air force equipped two of its Heron UAVs with maritime patrol sensors and will operate them on behalf of the navy as a replacement for its IAI Westwind 1124 business jets which it has been operating since 1978 in a "Seascan" configuration.
The UAVs will be simulalrly equipped with an Elta search radar and a Tamam stabilised long-range optical
observation system. The Heron has an endurance of over 40h at an altitude of 30,000 ft (9,150m). It can carry multiple payloads with a total weight of 250kg (550lb).