Airbus Group has received a contract from Germany's defense procurement agency to operate Israel Aerospace Industries-built Heron 1 unmanned aerial systems in support of German forces' missions in Mali.
Airbus' defense and space business will begin UAS operations in Mali in November through February 2018, Airbus said Thursday.
Thomas Reinartz, head of sales for unmanned aerial systems at Airbus, said the contract award builds on the company's involvement in more than 2,300 missions in Afghanistan with over 95 percent in fleet availability since 2010.
IAI's Heron 1 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS that has a 17-meter wingspan and is designed to fly for more than 24 hours.
The drone works to support reconnaissance and surveillance operations, aerial-based booby trap detection, situational assessment and humanitarian missions.