Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has developed an export-specific version of its Heron TP medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicle, which will be displayed for the first time at this month’s Aero India show in Bengaluru.
Adapted from the baseline Heron TP – which has been in Israeli air force service since 2010 and was also selected by the German air force – the XP model has been designed to comply with the restrictions imposed by the international missile technology control regime 2 (MTCR 2) agreement. One of the main changes has been to reduce its payload capacity from more than 1t to 450kg (991lb).
IAI says the new Heron TP-XP “constitutes a multi-mission, multi-payload strategic aircraft” capable of operating in extreme weather conditions. IAI has previously supplied the Indian armed forces with its earlier, smaller Heron 1 UAV, and New Delhi had shown interest in also obtaining the TP model.
The Israeli company says it hopes to “further strengthen and deepen” its relationship with Indian partners, under the auspices of New Delhi’s “Make in India” procurement policy. “Heron TP-XP is an important element in this ongoing co-operation,” it says.
An Israeli defence source tells FlightGlobal that the Heron TP’s adaptation to meet the conditions of the MTCR 2 agreement is part of a trend that will result in the emergence of export versions of other of the nation’s systems. “We will see more such adapted systems in the very near future,” the source suggests.