Israel's Heron TP tackles manned surveillance tasks

Tel Aviv
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The Israeli air force’s unmanned air systems have begun performing some missions that were previously carried out using the service’s Beechcraft Super King Airs.

Payloads carried by Israel Aerospace Industries Heron 1 and Heron TP air vehicles are capable of conducting the medium- and long-range observation tasks that were once met exclusively by the air force’s special mission-configured King Airs, named "Zofit". Equipped with advanced electro-optical systems, the manned aircraft carry a crew of observers.

The air force’s large UAS now have the payload capacity to carry the sensors required, offer a longer endurance and are also cheaper to operate then the legacy type, meaning their use will continue to grow.

Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database records the Israeli air force as operating a current fleet of seven RC-12D/K-model King Air surveillance aircraft.