Israel’s air force has officially phased out its Israel Aerospace Industries Sea Scan 1124 Shahaf maritime patrol aircraft, ending a service life which began in 1978.

Maritime surveillance missions are now performed by the air force’s IAI Heron 1 unmanned air vehicles, with the long-endurance type carrying an Elta Systems EL/M-2022 maritime surveillance radar and Tamam MOSP electro-optical sensor.

Co-operation between the service and the Israeli navy has increased over the past two years to meet operational needs, and the latter plans to add new radars to a batch of eight surplus Sikorsky SH-60F Seahawks helicopters it is considering acquiring from the US Navy.

IAI says the Heron 1 has an endurance of 20h while carrying its maritime surveillance payload, and that the UAV’s radar can be used to track hundreds of targets simultaneously at ranges up to 174nm (322km).