Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and 2Excel Aviation have signed an agreement to forge ahead in developing the future use of uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) in UK airspace. Initial efforts will focus on growing and enhancing 2Excel’s regulatory approvals in the uncrewed sphere using the maritime version of IAI’s Heron, the world’s most prolific UAS.
The highly-capable Heron has notched up 500,000 hours of safe operations around the globe. It carries a suite of advanced sensors, cameras, and communications equipment that provide persistence reconnaissance for a range of missions, including search and rescue, border protection, fisheries patrol, and safety at sea.
uccessful in-person and virtual demonstrations of the Heron to both UK Government and civil observers, flying out of West Wales Airport in Aberporth, Wales, proved that IAI and 2Excel could operate a highly-capable Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) platform in the UK within the constraints of the regulatory environment. Feedback from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was very positive, paving the way for future uncrewed operations.
IAI’s President and CEO, Boaz Levy, said: “IAI’s robust Heron UAS is currently in service with numerous worldwide customers in various operational scenarios under diverse conditions. The strengthening and enhancement of IAI’s relationship with 2Excel Aviation will enable both companies to maximize the potential synergy between their respective manned and unmanned capabilities, coupled with unsurpassed customer service, to provide superior and wide-ranging solutions for the UK’s Maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) requirements and challenges. I am confident that IAI’s legacy as a world leader in designing, manufacturing, and operating unmanned aerial systems combined with 2Excel’s expertise in ISR manned services, will facilitate timely compliance with all the CAA’s regulatory requirements and the commencement of Heron operations in the UK.”
Andy Offer, Co-Founder and Director of 2Excel Aviation said: “2Excel and IAI have already demonstrated to potential customers that we were able to deploy Maritime Heron for a variety of tasks in restricted UK airspace during November 2021. This agreement will see us jointly develop these capabilities and approvals, using a real aircraft flying in the real world. The rapid pace of technological advancement is creating new ways to generate actionable intelligence, insights, and awareness which is potentially incredibly valuable for a range of customers.”