View Full Version : Canada's UAV's achieve operational capability in Afganistan

08-23-2009, 04:00 PM
Joint Task Force – Afghanistan (JTFAfg) Air Wing’s CU170 Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have achieved initial operational capability and are ready to go to work.

“By achieving initial operational capability,” commander JTFAfg Air Wing Colonel Christopher Coates said, “we are able to provide the commander of Task Force Kandahar with an operational level day or night video capability that will enhance our operational picture. The information gathered by the Heron is in high demand, and will help reduce the number of insurgent attacks by scouting out convoy routes and surrounding areas, scanning for insurgents, and observing suspicious activities such as the planting of improvised explosive devices.”

Brigadier-General Vance, commander Joint Task Force Afghanistan, will assign the Herons’ tasks and set their priorities.

The Heron is a long range UAV that can carry a wide variety of sensors and information systems to gather data for intelligence analysis and provide surveillance and target acquisition over a large area.

“The Heron UAV is an integral part of the modern battlefield,” Col Coates said. “It provides life saving surveillance and intelligence gathering capabilities that can be used in a variety of operations. This is another significant step toward building the air capability here in southern Afghanistan. It will help save lives by reducing the threats to soldiers on the ground.”

The Heron detachment supporting Task Force Kandahar will operate under the call sign “Birchall” in honour of the late Air Commodore Leonard Joseph Birchall of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

by Capt Dean Menard