July 26, 2013 by Arie Egozi – FG
Tel Aviv - Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will have to sign joint development agreements with companies in countries that want to operate medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned air systems such as its Heron TP, Israeli defence ministry sources say.
The requirement stems from the fact that Israel - despite not signing the international missile technology control regime (MTCR) - complies with its guidelines.
The aim of the MTCR is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles, and related technologies for systems capable of carrying a 500kg (1,100lb) payload at least 162nm (300km), as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction.
IAI could offer the Heron TP to France and Germany, as both are partners in the MTCR, but would not be allowed to offer it to non-signatory countries.
Defence ministry sources confirm one such potential customer from a MALE UAS with capabilities similar to the Heron TP is India, but refuse to say whether there are negotiations about such a co-development agreement with New Delhi.
With a maximum take-off weight of more than 4t and a 26m (85ft) wingspan, the Heron TP is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6 turboprop engine.
Sources in Israel say some countries already operating Israeli-made UAS are the most likely potential customers for a jointly developed MALE UAS that will comply with the terms of the MTCR.