Israel's Aeronautics Defense Systems was due to deliver its first two Aerostar tactical unmanned air vehicles to Afghanistan in late September to support acceptance trials with the Polish army.
Being acquired under a roughly 109 million zlotys ($37 million) contract, the equipment is drawn from an order for two Aerostar systems. Each comprises four aircraft, plus two ground control stations, communications relay equipment and systems to perform take-off and landing.
The tactical UAVs will bolster the Polish military's ability to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in support of the NATO-led International Security Assistance force. One system should become operational in the country’s Ghazni Province late this year, while the other will be retained in Poland to support training activities.
Both images © Aeronautics Defense Systems
More than 30 soldiers from the 49th Combat Helicopter Regiment’s UAV squadron completed initial training in Israel in mid-August.
The Polish army already operates Aeronautics' smaller Orbiter UAV in Afghanistan. Warsaw is also to acquire Boeing Insitu ScanEagle systems to support ground operations in Afghanistan.
Some 4.5m (14.7ft) long and with a 7.5m wingspan, the Aerostar has a maximum take-off-weight of 210kg (463lb). The UAV has a 12h endurance and a loitering speed of 60kt (111km/h).
Aeronautics earlier this year performed the first flight of its larger Aerostar-C, which has a 10m wingspan.
Additional reporting by Bartosz Glowacki and Grzegorz Sobczak in Warsaw