At Singapore Air Show 2014, Israel Aerospace Industries revealed an all-new Unmanned Air System (UAS) addition to their existing and globally popular "Heron" remote reconnaissance aircraft line as the "Super Heron". The original Heron first flew in 1994 and fell into the classification of Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance, was conventionally powered through a two-bladed pusher engine configuration and has seen acceptance into the services of Israel, India, Germany, Brazil and Turkey among others. The Super Heron is a dimensionally larger craft and has been dubbed a "Super Tactical" UAV system. Its primary mission is reconnaissance and data collection, relaying information to ground commanders.
With its larger size, the Super Heron can compete with equally large UAVs on the global market, capable of carrying bigger internal mission payloads. It is outfitted with the new M-19HD series electro-optical turret in a chin installation. The fuselage takes on a Global Hawk-esque appearance with its bulbous nose and rear-mounted engine. A Fiat-inspired "heavy fuel" engine of 200 horsepower by Italian concern Diesel Jet is offered as well as a "light fuel", lower-power alternative utilizing gasoline. The engine drives a propeller blade assembly at rear in the usual pusher configuration. Wings measure a span of 56 feet and the aircraft showcases a Maximum Take-Off weight (MTOW) of approximately 3,200lbs. Wings also feature efficiency-minded winglets, a growing trend in the aircraft business - both military and civilian in nature. The rear-mounted engine is straddled by the twin-boom tail configuration. The aircraft utilizes a wholly retractable wheeled undercarriage with two main legs and a nose leg.
All told, the Super Heron is capable of a maximum speed of 173 miles per hour at service ceilings reaching up to 30,000 feet and a mission endurance window of 45 hours. Its payload capabilities are modular by design, allowing different mission kits to be added as required by the operator. Standard offerings include high-resolution video, SIGnals INTelligence (SIGINT) over-land and over-water radar systems. The Super Heron is fielded with a Ground Control Station (GCS) operated by crew through more secure communications channels.
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