Israel Aerospace Industries says it has made history as its Heron unmanned aerial system (UAS) became the first to land at an international airport with its landing at Ben Gurion airport on September 16.
The UAS flew to and from the airport, navigating civilian airspace in a test of the company’s Long Runner operating system, which allows UAS to take off and land automatically on long-haul flights based on satellite communications technology.
The Heron UAS is an operational system that is in the service of the Israeli, German Air Force and other armies around the world. The system is designed to perform long-term strategic and tactical missions, and has the ability to fly in severe weather conditions. It can carry a payload of up to 290 kg, and be used for various civilian missions.
“The expected future of the world of aviation will require unmanned aircraft to land at civilian airports, and today it happened for the first time thanks to hard and joint work of the Civil Aviation Authority (RTA) and the Airports Authority (Network),” IAI VP and Director of Military Aircraft Division, Moshe Levy, said.
It is worth noting that General Atomics’ MQ-9B is also certified to fly in unsegregated civilian airspace but it appears it is yet to make a landing at a public airport.