German Heron UAV damaged in ground collision

By Craig Hoyle

Germany’s deployment of Israel Aerospace Industries Heron 1 unmanned air vehicles in Afghanistan has suffered an early setback, with one of its aircraft having been involved in a ground collision.

[] The incident happened at Mazar-e Sharif air base at 17:30 local time on 18 March, the German air force says. One of its medium-altitude, long-endurance UAVs struck a parked aircraft while being rolled back after landing at the base, it confirms.

The air force has not confirmed which other aircraft type was involved in the mishap, but has a detachment of four Panavia Tornado reconnaissance aircraft at the base.

"There was damage to both aircraft," the air force confirms, without providing further details. It has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

Germany started operating the Heron in Afghanistan earlier this month, under the terms of an initial one-year lease deal with prime contractor Rheinmetall Defence. The UAV is intended to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services in support of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.