Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced the extension of the contract to provide Heron Remotely Piloted Aircraft to Australian troops in Afghanistan to the end of 2012.
The Heron provides aerial support and surveillance in support of Australian and coalition operations in Afghanistan.
Mr Clare said the unmanned aircraft provides high-resolution, real-time surveillance.
“This gives commanders better awareness of what is happening on the ground where troops are deployed,” Mr Clare said.
“The Heron has been in operation since 2009. It’s an important capability – it effectively gives our commanders eyes in the sky.”
The Royal Australian Air Force and Australian Army personnel deployed to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan conduct Heron operations in support of Australian troops and our coalition partners.
The contract was first signed with MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates for this capability in 2009.
The Heron Remotely Piloted Aircraft is a one tonne aircraft.
It is capable of medium altitude, long endurance flights.
It can conduct operations in excess of 24 hours.
Its maximum speed is more than 100 knots (180 km/h) at altitudes of up to 10,000 metres.
Media contact: Tim Quadrio – 02 6277 7620