Germany adds another Heron for Mali
- The German government has approved the deployment of another Heron UAV to the United Nations mission in Mali, which will bring the total to four.
- On 5 May, the budget committee of the Bundestag released funds for an extension and expansion of the operator contract for Heron UAVs with the MINUSMA mission in Mali.
- The German government said that with four Heron I aircraft instead of the previous three and three instead of two ground control stations, the German contingent will be able to use two of the unmanned reconnaissance systems simultaneously.
- The fourth aircraft will provide the German contingent with a necessary reserve. In this way, planned downtimes of the Heron I can be compensated for and unplanned downtimes will not have a negative effect on the provision of UAV capabilities.
- The new operator contract with Airbus Defence & Space Airborne Solutions runs until the end of April 2024. Airbus is responsible for the provision, maintenance and repair of the Heron I and the ground control stations. The operations of the reconnaissance systems are carried out by soldiers of the Bundeswehr.
- As part of MINUSMA, the Heron I has been flying from Gao in northern Mali since 2016. By July 2020 the aircraft had logged more than 11,500 flight hours in over 1,200 operational flights.
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