Incongruously wearing a civil aircraft registration, the obviously military Super Heron HF unmanned air vehicle (UAV) comes to Changi bedecked with sensors for a wide variety of surveillance missions and surrounded by the flags of some of the 20 or so countries that use the basic Heron system.
Occupying pride of place in the static display, outside the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) chalet (CD03), the HF will be unveiled today.
HF stands for “heavy fuel,” suggesting Jet A1 (diesel) as the source of propulsion. A larger, turboprop version of Heron is already available, implying that this newest model will use a diesel piston engine, unlike the Rotax 914 gasoline motor in the original version.
An MOSP3000-HD electro-optical turret is mounted in the chin position, while an ELM-2055D synthetic aperture radar with ground moving target indicator is in the belly pod.
Few parts of the twin-boom, pusher-propeller airframe are free from pods and antennas for satellite communications, SM/elint receivers, a compact HF comint system and a comint direction-finder. Under the starboard wing is a pod for the automatic takeoff and landing system. Up to 1,000 kg (2,200 lb.) of mission equipment can be carried.
IAI has yet to reveal whether the HF option will be retrofittable or what option of engines it will be offering. The standard version offers 52 hr. of endurance and up to 250 kg (550 lb.) of payload, albeit with a significant endurance trade-off.