IAI Heron unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) are on the verge of making their debut in Australian civilian air space.

The RAAF and Airservices Australia have signed a memorandum of agreement that sets the stage for the establishment of procedures for UAS operations in civilian air space without significant impact on civil air traffic.

“The MoA aids both Airservices and the air force by facilitating the initial operation and integration of remotely piloted aircraft into civil airspace, based on the air force’s mature and thorough airworthiness and aviation safety system,” says RAAF Air Cdr. Chris Westwood.

Australia operates two Herons. It will fly in civilian airspace from Rockhampton Airport in late June as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015. This will be the first time it has flown outside restricted military airspace in Australia.

The RAAF is using the Herons to retain an operational capability for large unmanned aircraft. Eventually, Australia will obtain up to seven Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton aircraft, which will be used for maritime patrol duties.

Source: Flight Daily News