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Australian Army Begins Heron UAV Ops in Afghanistan

The first Australian-leased Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has begun operations supporting Australian troops in Afghanistan.

Under Project Nankeen, the Defence Material Organisation has signed a contract with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd (MDA) to provide Heron Unmanned Aerial System services which will deliver high resolution intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability supporting ADF operations in Afghanistan.

The Heron UAS uses leading edge technology to boost force protection by providing ground commanders with ongoing, real time situational awareness.

The Heron’s long endurance characteristic enhances the ADF’s other operational ISR capabilities in Afghanistan, which currently include RAAF AP-3C Orions and Army’s Scan Eagle tactical UAV.

A small Royal Australian Air Force detachment has been preparing for the delivery of the Australian Heron, by working with the Canadian Heron detachment at Kandahar airfield, drawing on the Canadians’ operational knowledge, experience and facilities.

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Australian Heron in Flight