Israel’s long-range UAV is ready for action
The Israel Air Force’s most advanced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the Heron TP, known as the Eitan, is back in the air after being grounded for over seven months. The extraordinary decision to ground all Eitan UAVs was taken after one crashed in late January during a test fight of its payload.
The Eitan is a long-range UAV, capable of reaching Iran, but it did not get far on that January test flight. A rolling breakdown caused a wing to break, resulting in a crash from high altitude, which shattered the UAV in an orchard on the Coastal Plain.
The Air Force and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) struggled to understand the cause of the crash to one of the Air Forces’ operational workhorses. For years, the Air Force has been expanding its UAV fleet and missions, which now carry out a quarter of all missions – a proportion that is likely to grow.
Examination of the remains found that a wing spar broke under a load for which it was not designed to bear, during the test flight. The crash of the UAV, a state-of-theart machine in global aviation, was a blow