The Heron TP unmanned air vehicles that Germany will lease from Airbus Defence & Space and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will be operated from an Israeli air base. German crews will also be trained at the Israeli air force site, according to the commander of the service's UAV academy – identified only as Lt Col S.

"We have already trained UAV crews from a number of countries including Germany," he says. "They all want to learn from our vast operational experience in operating all types of UAVs under any possible condition."

Deliveries of Heron TP systems for use by the German military will begin late next year, after a German court rejected a final appeal against the deal mounted by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. The nation's parliament has yet to approve the funding for the programme, however.

The Heron TP deal will support international operations involving German personnel prior to the availability of a European-developed medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV from around 2025.