SINGAPORE, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Singapore's Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen on Wednesday declared the country is ready to operate and deploy Heron 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) after five years of training and exercises.
Speaking a ceremony at Murai Camp to mark the achievement, Ng highlighted the significance of this milestone to the overall enhancement of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)'s capabilities, saying the Full Operational Capability of Heron 1 brings the air force's unmanned aerial capabilities to the level of advanced militaries globally.
"The Heron 1 is among the most advanced UAV systems in its class, able to perform several missions simultaneously as with a suite of state-of-the-art sensors and enhanced range," said Ng, "Apart from these conventional operations, it can also be deployed against terrorist threats, because its persistence enables it to cover a wide area of surveillance."
According to the Ministry of Defence, Heron 1 UAV provides SAF with better battlefield situational awareness and enhanced mission effectiveness as it features state-of-the-art avionics, detection capabilities and communications systems, as well as fully automatic take-off and landing capabilities and longer flight endurance.
Inaugurated into Singapore's Air Forces in 2012, Heron 1 UAV is operated by a team of pilots, air imagery intelligence experts and air force engineers, who have undergone intensive training to operate and maintain the drone as well as integrate it to support SAF's operations. The UAV replaces the Searcher-class UAV that has been in service since 1994.