Germany is the latest nation to lease a UAV for services in Afghanistan. It has signed a contract with Rheinmetall Defense, and its partners at Israel Aerospace Industries, to provide an unspecified number of Heron UAVs as the SAATEG (System zur Abbildenden Aufklarung in der Tiefe des Einsatzgebietes). The UAV will provide the German Bundeswehr (German Army) with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
Under the current multimillion-euro contract, the Bundeswehr will lease the UAV system for one year with an option for a two year-extension.
The Heron is expected to contribute significantly to comprehensive situational awareness within the scope of networked command and control in Northern Afghanistan, a region for which Germany is responsible.
The UAV will provide wide area real-time reconnaissance and surveillance data for German ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) troops.
Operations will commence by mid-March 2010.
The Heron is capable of covering a substantially larger footprint, even as its high-performance sensors can provide reconnaissance data at even severe weather conditions.