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Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.

First Delivery of IAI-Made Heron UAS to MDA for Support of the Royal Australian Air Force Troops in Afghanistan

Dec 10, 2009

Today (Dec. 10th, 2009) was the first delivery of the Heron Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to the Canadian company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA), and to the customer, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The Heron UAS, made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), includes an aircraft, mission payloads, Advanced Ground Control Station (AGCS), spare parts, and ground support equipment.

Many distinguished guests attended the delivery ceremony, including the Canadian military attaché, Col. Geordie Elms; the Australian military attaché, Col. Wayne Fleming; the Canadian senior trade commissioner, Catherine Gosselin; as well as representatives from the Israeli Ministry of Defense, MDA, and IAI management.

Some weeks ago, the Australian Department of Defense (DOD) awarded a contract to MDA to supply Heron systems to Australia for operations by the RAAF in support of troops deployed in Afghanistan for intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) missions, as part of Project NANKEEN.

The Heron was chosen from among a number of UAS competitors, after successfully completing a series of tests, for its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. The Heron system delivered today will start operations in early 2010 for one year, with the option to extend for an additional two years.

Itzhak Nissan, President and CEO of IAI, said: "We are proud that the Australian DOD has selected the Heron as its 'eyes in the skies' in Afghanistan. IAI and MDA both contributed to supply the high quality UAS efficiently and to the customer's satisfaction. IAI regards the Royal Australian Air Force to be an important and esteemed user."

At the delivery ceremony, David Marriott, Project Manager at MDA, said: "The partnership between IAI and MDA has brought us to this proud moment. The UAS will soon be operational in Afghanistan."

Col. Wayne Fleming, the Australian military attaché, said at the ceremony: "Australia is looking forward to the UAS supporting our troops in Afghanistan."

The Heron UAS, which will be operated by the RAAF, will significantly increase the force's operational capabilities in a variety of missions, due to its unique characteristics: the Heron is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV, and can remain airborne for over 30 hours with a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet and an ability to carry approximately 250kg of payloads.

The Heron has a wingspan of 16.6 meters, a takeoff weight of 1,200kg, an operational range of several hundred kilometers, an automatic takeoff and landing system, and is well suited to the challenging climate and conditions of Afghanistan.

The Heron, which has been successfully sold to and used by foreign customers worldwide, has received much praise for its performance, and is currently in use in Afghanistan by the Canadian and French air forces. The Heron used by the latter is known as SIDM (Systeme Interimaire de Drone MALE) a project in cooperation with European Aeronautic Defense and Space (EADS). The Heron will also soon be in use by the German and Australian air forces in Afghanistan. The Heron UAS has already accumulated thousands of operational flight hours in Afghanistan.

About Israel Aerospace Industries

Israel Aerospace Industries is Israel's leading technological-industrial company, with approximately 17,000 employees.

IAI has gained worldwide recognition as a leading developer of aviation and aerospace technology in both military and civilian markets.

IAI provides the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and its foreign customers with unique, high-quality technological solutions that meet a wide range of needs on the ground, in the sea, in the air, in space and in the field of homeland security. IAI is a world leader in a wide range of advanced technologies, including the development, production, renovation, upgrading, repair and maintenance of aircraft, missiles, launchers, communications satellites, observation satellites and ground services, electronic systems, avionics systems, advanced radar, precision-guided munitions, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

For more information, please contact:
Doron Suslik
Deputy Vice President of Communications
Tel: 03-935-8509
Fax: 03-935-8512
Email: hpaz@iai.co.il

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