December 08, 2020 - 21:20 ( Brasília )

IAI Adds ASW Capability to the Maritime Heron

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Text in Portuguese

IAI adiciona capacidade ASW ao UAS Heron Link

The Editor

Addressing the increasing role of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in maritime operations, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has added new capabilities to the Heron family of UAS, preparing the drone to assume anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions.

The new capability comprises two new payloads – a Sonobuoy Dispensing System (SDS) and Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD).This combination enables simultaneous detection and tracking of submarines in shallow and deep waters.

This capability relies on the Heron’s key performance parameters – operations from remote locations, fly long missions at extended range and extended persistence over target areas, employing satellite data link, increased payload capacity, and operating simultaneously with multiple sensors.

IAI Elta Systems’ ELM-2022U maritime radar provides the primary surveillance sensor on the platform. From a cruising altitude of 20,000 ft. This radar can see across 150 nm to the horizon. The high sensitivity of the radar enables detection and identification of all types of targets encountered at sea, from large vessels classified from a distance using inverse-SAR, to detecting elusive targets with low radar cross-section, such as rubber boats submarine periscopes.

Extending its ASW capability, IAI integrated additional sensors, including a Magnetic Anomaly Detection system and a payload that carries and releases acoustic sonobuoys. After dropping its payload, the Heron loiters over the area to receive and process the acoustic signals picked by the sonobuoys, providing an acoustic situational picture, enhanced by magnetic, radar, SIGINT, and visual sensor indications and tracks. This picture is transmitted to a coastal mission control center or a task force at sea, using the Heron’s integral satellite and line-of-sight links.

The Heron gradually evolved to offer a robust, efficient, and flexible maritime operation from shore and sea. Centrally commanded to take off and land from remote shores, Herons extend missions over thousands of kilometers over blue water, using satellite links and handing over control to the operators at sea. With a dedicated mission package and performance capabilities unmatched by other MALE UAS, the Heron now supports both maritime surface and ASW mission capabilities, an order of magnitude better than ASW solutions utilizing manned platforms.