IAI’s Maritime Heron ideal for maritime security


Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) was the first unmanned aerial systems (UAS) manufacturer to deploy drones on maritime surveillance missions and has built up decades of experience in this field. Today, its Maritime Heron UAS is the optimal solution for maritime security missions.

IAI’s UAS capabilities offer significant advantages over conventional, manned aircraft, including longer mission time, persistent monitoring, and centralised operation of surveillance over very large areas.

This capability employs some of the Heron’s key performance parameters – operations from remote locations; flying long missions at extended range with a satellite data link; and the ability to operate with multiple sensors. Another important feature is the Heron’s ability to operate from a mission control centre ashore, or from vessels at sea, by handing-off control to a maritime station.

With a maximum speed of 140-220 knots the Heron can be rapidly deployed while a 60-80 knot loitering speed at high, low and very low altitude enables a longer time on station.

The Heron’s full array of intelligence gathering capabilities is made possible thanks to its capacity to carry multiple payloads and sensors simultaneously. The aircraft can carry a full set of sensors typically reserved for large medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) aircraft, including lightweight maritime search radar, AIS, electro-optical, sonobuoys, magnetic anomaly detector and electronic support measures/electronic intelligence (ESM/ELINT) equipment.

Data can be transmitted from the UAV to the control station and tactical-level end users in real time, through direct line-of-sight or via satellite communications. This essentially enables the operational range of the Heron to be limited only by fuel availability, with missions ranging over 1 000 km from its operating base.

Incorporating nearly 50 years of experience and proven operationally worldwide, the Maritime Heron carries out maritime patrol and intelligence-gathering missions, from detection, classification, to identification. The Heron in its maritime configuration is used by several naval forces around the world in homeland security, paramilitary and wartime scenarios, and offers extended operational endurance (up to 45 continuous hours); increased scanning area; range; time over target and mission flexibility, as well as, real-time assessment of battle damage.

IAI was the first UAS manufacturer to deploy drones on maritime surveillance missions, and on these missions the Heron carries a combined set of sensors comprising an advanced, lightweight maritime search radar, providing surface search and air/air search capability over hundreds of miles at sea. The radar operates alongside an Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Communications Intelligence (COMINT) and stabilized electro-optical/Infra-red (EO/IR) sensors.

Mission control modules are fully integrated on board naval vessels, including stabilised directional antennas and satellite communications terminals, enabling ships at sea to fully exploit the Heron as part of their sensor suite. With a dedicated mission package and performance unmatched by other MALE UAS, the Heron supports maritime mission capabilities far better than conventional solutions utilising fixed and rotary wing manned platforms.

Based on IAI’s nearly 50 years of experience as the world pioneer in unmanned aerial systems, the Heron represents IAI’s leading family of unmanned aircraft.

You are invited to visit IAI Booth 30-31 at the IMDEC 2021 exhibition, to learn about the wide range of naval solutions IAI has to offer.

IAI offers a vast portfolio, including air and missile defence, unmanned aerial systems, EEZ and coastal protection, border defence systems, ground robotics, Command and Control, guided weapons, radars, and special-mission aircraft.

The International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (IMDEC) is the largest maritime security exhibition and conference in West Africa and this year takes place in Accra, Ghana, from 6 to 8 July.