An airside look at IAI Heron A45-253 - Rockhampton Airport
Participating in Talisman Saber 2015 and temporarily based at Rockhampton Airport for the duration of the military exercise, are a pair of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Heron's, A45-253 and A45-262.
As can be seen in photo's below, a sturdy shelter has been erected to house the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's) which for the first time, a recently signed memorandum of agreement between Airservices Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) cleared the way for the remote piloted Heron's to be used in Australian civil airspace.
Until the MoA, operation of the Heron in Australia had been restricted to military airspace only.
Under lease by Canadian firm - MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) - a pair of IAI Heron's are currently operated by the Royal Australian Air Force and expected to remain in service until introduction of the larger, more capable MQ-4C Triton late this decade or early next.
It is planned that a mixed fleet of MQ-4C Tritons and P-8A Poseidons will replace the aging Lockheed AP-3C Orion's flown by No.10 Squadron and No.11 Squadron at RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia.
Of interest, research revealed the IAI Heron is powered by a single 115hp, Rotax 914 engine allowing the aeroplane to achieve an approximate speed of 113 knots.
Air Queensland.blogspot would like to sincerely thank Phil Munsel Photography for allowing us to share these magnificent photo's.