Germany's defence ministry has selected Israel Aerospace Industries' Heron TP unmanned air vehicle as the preferred system to meet its future requirements.
Last year, Airbus Defence & Space and IAI signed a teaming agreement linked to their proposed continuation of services to the German military using the new Heron variant. This would follow on from the Bundeswehr's use of the Heron 1 in Afghanistan, performed under a lease deal with the Airbus unit.
Berlin has been looking for a bridging solution with upgraded features, which will enable it to maintain its surveillance capabilities until the arrival of a proposed joint European medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV around 2025. Discussions will now progress on a lease deal, which reports suggest is likely to be for between three and five air vehicles.
Announced by defence minister Ursula von der Leyen on 12 January, the selection of the Heron TP was made in preference to a rival proposal using the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper.