The Israeli air force (IAF) and Israel Aerospace Industries are working to “significantly” increase the endurance of the Heron TP unmanned air vehicle from its current 36h.
Work is ongoing to introduce additional sensor capability, the reason the IAF requires additional endurance.
By 2020 the IAF's "White Eagle" squadron will triple the number of the medium-altitude, long-endurance UAVs it operates. Heron TPs will be delivered with the increased endurance and operational systems will be retrofitted to the same standard.
The Heron TP is being used for missions by all Israeli defence force branches and the new performance will support these missions.
Israeli sources say the current performance of the Heron TP is "outstanding" and the planned upgrade will transfer more missions from manned intelligence platforms to the UAV.
The Eitan – as it is known to the IAF – has a maximum take-off weight of 11,685lb (5,300kg), and it carries a typical payload of 1,000kg.
It is powered by a 1,200HP turboprop engine, has a wingspan of 26m and is 14m in length.