“Green Light” for HERON Drone
The acquisition of a new HERON Mk2 unmanned system was activated by the Joint Chiefs of General Staffs Council. Should the purchase be completed, it will be the first unmanned aircraft of this type to belong to the Armed Forces as the two systems already in operation have been acquired through the leasing method.
According to the information, the program is mature enough to be introduced to the Commission for Equipment Programs and Contracts and then to the Government Council for Foreign and Defense Affairs (KYSEA), so that GDDIA can proceed with drawing up the contract as quickly as possible.
At the same time, military sources confirm to Kathimerini that the Greek side is in advanced discussions with Israel for the purchase of both “rented” HERON UAVs, older version Mk1, when the lease period ends, aiming to strengthen the Greek unmanned fleet aircraft. According to the same sources, the negotiations are expected to bear fruit within the coming months.
Strengthening the UAV fleet
Hellenic National Defence General Staff plans to create a fleet of unmanned aircraft that will cover the entire range of needs of the Greek Armed Forces. In addition to surveillance and intelligence gathering, high-definition image transmission with infrared and thermal cameras for participation in search and rescue operations, as well as the ability to strike using UCAV unmanned combat systems, are among the priorities of the staff.
It is recalled that at the end of 2024, the first French-made Patroller UAVs purchased through the NATO supply service NSPA and will belong to the Hellenic Army will arrive in Greece. The main role of the four Patrollers will be to participate in search and rescue operations, to collect information, and to identify/designate targets in large areas since they have the possibility of Hand Over between control stations, which can even be placed in units of Hellenic Navy.
Interest has also been expressed in the American-made MQ-9 Reaper, but also in their naval version, the MQ-9B Sea Guardian, although for the moment it appears that the supply of the Israeli HERON is “preceding”.
In the service of Armed Forces and Civil Protection
The two leased HERONs have recorded many successes in the field of timely information transmission and in the critical area of situational awareness, especially in with the migratory flows in the Evros and the eastern Aegean. Their contribution to fire protection is also considered very important.