Is­rael’s long-range UAV is ready for ac­tion

SP's MAI - - UNMANNED -

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

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