IAI Heron/Machatz-1


1st Flight 1994

Capacity: 250 kg (551 lb)

Length: 8.5 m (27 ft 11 in)

Wingspan: 16.6 m (54 ft 6 in)

Airfoil: IAI SA-21

Max takeoff weight: 1,150 kg (2,535 lb)

Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 914 4-cylinder air and water cooled horizontally-opposed piston engine, 86 kW (115 hp)

Propellers: 3-bladed pusher propeller


Maximum speed: 207 km/h (129 mph, 112 kn)

Endurance: 52 hours

Service ceiling: 10,000 m (33,000 ft)

Rate of climb: 2.5 m/s (490 ft/min)

Wing loading: 89 kg/m2 (18 lb/sq ft)


The IAI Heron (Machatz-1) is a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Turkey operates a special variant of the Heron, which utilizes Turkish-designed and manufactured electro-optical subsystems.

For example, the Turkish Herons use the ASELFLIR-300T airborne thermal Imaging and targeting system designed and manufactured by ASELSAN of Turkey.

The Turkish Herons also have stronger engines in order to compensate for the added payload created by the heavier ASELFLIR-300T.

This is the same FLIR system currently used in the TAI / Agusta Westland T129 attack helicopter and also the TAI Anka MALE UAV.

IAI staff maintain that the Turkish Heron’s “with its enhanced performance, is better than all existing Heron UAVs operating worldwide”.

Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ) provides maintenance and overhaul services for its Herons.

EADS Harfang – variant operated by France

Other countries operating the Heron include Singapore, India and Turkey.

France operates a derivative of Heron named Eagle or Harfang.

In 2008, Canada announced a plan to lease a Heron for use in Afghanistan, starting in 2009.

In mid-2009, Australia leased two Herons as part of a multimillion-dollar lease to operate the vehicles in Afghanistan.

In early July 2013, the Heron reached 15,000 flight hours over Afghanistan.

Australia concluded its use of the Heron in support of Operation Slipper in Afghanistan on 30 November 2014, after it had accumulated 27,000 flight hours.

Royal Australian Air Force retired two Herons in June 2017.


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