First UAS to Land at International Airport Alongside Commercial Flights
Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) HERON UAS has made history by landing at Ben Gurion International Airport on 16 September, becoming the first unmanned aircraft to land at an international airport alongside commercial flights occupying civilian air space, the company announced on 16 September.
The HERON took off from Ein Shemer airfield, landed at Ben Gurion, and flew back to its departure point, with the entire operation controlled from the Ein Shemer control station. The historic landing proves the maturity and safety of IAI’s LONG RUNNER operating system, which allows UAS to take off and land automatically on long-haul routes 1,500km or more, using satellite communications technology and a combination of accurate take-off and automatic landing capabilities.
HERON has accumulated an extensive operational record during its extensive service with the Israeli and German air forces, among others. It is designed to carry out longer strategic and tactical missions and can cope with severe weather conditions, carry multiple payloads, and transmit real-time information to decision-makers in the field. It has a cargo capacity of up to 290kg and can be used for a wide range of military and civilian applications.
“IAI’s HERON UAV made a significant breakthrough today, landing for the first time at an international airport. The future of the world of aviation will need to allow unmanned aerial vehicles to land at civilian airports, and today this happened for the first time thanks to the hard and joint work of the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel and the Israel Airports Authority. This is a great achievement for IAI in the UAV arena,” stated General Manager of IAI’s Military Aircraft Group, Moshe Levy.