IAI changes technology for Heron TP wing construction

Tel Aviv
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Israel Aerospace Industries has changed the technology used to manufacture the composite wings of its Heron TP unmanned air vehicle. The move follows the discovery of a flaw in the previous process that resulted in the crash of an Israeli air force example during an experimental flight in January.

Flight operations with the Heron TP resumed earlier this month, following the removal of an almost seven-month grounding order introduced following the mishap.

A combined investigation by the air force and IAI concluded that the crash was caused by a structural failure in the wing as a result of a manufacturing process that resulted in faulty bonding between its layers.

Sources say the new technology now being used was not available when earlier Heron TPs were manufactured.

With a maximum take-off weight of over 4t, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-engined UAV has a 26m (85.3ft) wingspan.