On 2 January 2017, a new service contract was concluded on the operation of the Imaging Reconnaissance System in the Depth of Theatre (SAATEG) for the mission in Afghanistan. The Bundeswehr thus continues to use the Heron 1 unmanned aerial vehicle for reconnaissance purposes in Afghanistan, initially up to February 2018.
“Aerial reconnaissance is an essential means to identify potential threats in good time and thus contributes to the immediate protection of our soldiers on operations”, emphasized Michael Engelmann, Director of Central Affairs at the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) on the behalf of the Deputy Director-General on the occasion of signing the contract in Koblenz on Monday, 2 January.
The contractor is the company Airbus DS Airborne Solutions (ADAS), which operates the Heron 1 aircraft system in a consortium together with the manufacturer, Israel Aerospace Industries.
The Bundeswehr has been using the Heron 1 system for aerial reconnaissance in Afghanistan since 2010. In this period, more than 30 000 flight hours have been completed. The responsibility for flight operations and the evaluation of aerial images rests with the Bundeswehr.
The new contract with a total value of approximately 35 million euros (excluding VAT) guarantees the continued provision of services, initially up to 28 February 2018. The Bundeswehr may then exercise an option to extend it by another year. Since November 2016, the Bundeswehr has been using Heron 1 in Mali as well, on the basis of a similar service contract with ADAS.