Airbus Unveil Deal to Provide German Armed Forces with UAVs
Airbus has announced that it has struck a deal for HERON TP drones with the German Armed Forces.
The European aeronautical company – which generated a staggering €59 billion in revenue last year – has signed an operator agreement with the Federal Office of Budeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) for Heron TP unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
The agreement will see the provision of Heron TP UAS as well as the operational services required for the system; with the contract will officially become effective upon the publication of the federal budget, in accordance with German budget law.
As part of the contract, drones currently deployed by the German Armed Forces in Afghanistan and Mali – the Heron 1s – will be replaced by the more powerful Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) made Heron which is already fully operational with the Israeli Air Force.
Shaul Shahar, IAI EVP and General Manager of the Military Aircraft Group, said, “We are thrilled and proud of this agreement with the Federal Ministry of Defence, a major strategic customer.
“The Heron TP is a first rate strategic RPAS. Its strong performance will provide Germany with unprecedented air superiority. We would like to thank the German government for this vote of confidence built over many years.
“We are committed to preserving the quality of our service and systems and look forward to continued collaboration.”
According to Airbus, the project is set to have a two-year set-up phase, which will then be followed by an operational phase – set to last a further seven years – likely to fill the void prior to the development of a sovereign European drone.
During the agreement, Bundeswehr will receive five aircraft equipped for reconnaissance missions and capable of carrying weapons as well as four sets of ground segments, training environments and all system operational services.
The systems will be equipped with electro-optic and infrared sensors, imaging radar systems for reconnaissance, satellite communication systems, German data and voice encryption systems while the UAVs also have a weather radar system to enable the UAVs to operate in bad weather conditions.