On the eve of the delivery to Germany, the first Israeli drone Heron TP (manufacturer state defense concern “Aviation industry”, TAA, IAI) made a test flight in the airspace of Israel, the press service of the Israeli Ministry of defense.
The publication notes that we are talking about UAV Heron TP, modified in accordance with the needs and requirements of the Ministry of defence of Germany. Its creation is the result of a joint project of the Department of the UAV in the management of defense research and development under the Ministry of defense of Israel, IAI and Airbus DS Airborne Solutions (from Airbus Group).
The Ministry of defense of Israel said that the agreement between the defense ministries of the two countries was signed in June 2018. It provides not only the rental of a number of UAVs, but also services for their maintenance and staff training. Soldiers of the German air force are trained under the guidance of their Israeli colleagues at the air force base in Central Israel.
Recall that on 13 June 2018, the Bundestag approved a deal to lease the Israeli drones Heron TP can carry a weapon. The transaction value of € 720 million for the Israeli defense concern “Aviation industry” for the lease of seven UAVs and 177 million Euro to the government of Israel for the use of airfields, control centers and technical support services and operation.
Two years ago it was reported that the training center 85 of the German management units will be located on an air force base “tel-Nof”. Germany has said that it will be the first ever case of finding a permanent base of the Bundeswehr in Israel.
UAV Heron TP are designed for missions of the Bundeswehr in Mali and Afghanistan, and will be used for seven years, until the completion of the development of a joint European strike UAVs, writes newsru.co.il.
The deal with Germany was agreed in 2013. Rival General Atomics repeatedly challenged the contract in court, losing in all instances. In may 2017 the higher regional court of düsseldorf rejected the claim against General Atomics transaction. This court became the final court at the suit, initially filed with the competition authority. After the decision of the court the transaction was submitted for final approval for the consideration of the Bundestag. However, in June 2017 a member of the ruling coalition of the Social democratic party of Germany (SPD) announced the intention to block the deal. The head of the SPD faction in the Bundestag Thomas Opperman said that his party is not against the acquisition of UAVs abroad, but is against leasing Israeli drones, which can be used not only for reconnaissance but also for missile strikes on targets in Afghanistan and Mali, where in the framework of the international contingents serve in the German military. However, in April of 2018, the German Bundestag resumed its consideration of this transaction, a few months later approved it.