Warplanes: Big Heron Flies Above It All


p> June 23, 2007: An Israeli firm has developed a high-altitude version of the Heron UAV. The Heron TP uses a powerful (1,200 horsepower) turbo prop engine to  enable the 4.6 ton aircraft to operate at 45,000 feet. That is, above commercial air traffic, and all the air-traffic-control regulations that discourage, and often forbid, UAV use at the same altitude as commercial aircraft. The Heron TP has a one ton payload, enabling it to carry sensors that can give a detailed view of what's on the ground from that high up. The endurance of 36 hours makes the Heron TP a competitor for the MQ-9 Reaper (or Predator B). The Heron line of UAVs has been around longer than the Predators, and have a comparable track record. India and European nations are the most likely buyers of the Heron TP, which would be suitable for maritime patrol as well.