Israel Ministry of Defense (MOD) and Hellenic Ministry of National Defense (MND) have signed the first agreement for the lease of the Israeli Heron unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

Signed digitally in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, this agreement is expected to strengthen the relations between the two countries.

As part of the agreement, Israel will lease the Heron system to Greece for three years for border defence purposes.

Following the completion of the leasing period, the agreement has a purchase option available.

The system is equipped with day and night activity platforms, maritime patrol radars, and satellite communications.

It provides extended operational endurance in maritime patrol, marine and land border protection, as well as search and rescue and disaster management.

International Defense Cooperation Directorate (SIBAT) head Brigade General Yair Kulas said: “The great security relations between Israel and Greece are expanding. We see great importance in the choice made by Greece to equip its forces with an Israeli system, particularly during the global corona crisis.

“We hope to sign additional agreements with Greece as well as other European partners, assisting them in addressing security challenges, in times of the corona pandemic and beyond.”

The unmanned vehicle is currently in service with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and naval forces across the globe.

IAI Military Aircraft Group executive VP and general manager Moshe Levy said: “IAI UAVs have seen countless operational successes, with over 1.8 million operational flight hours, and in use by more than fifty partners worldwide.

“With advanced automation capabilities, the UAVs are equipped with payloads that meet a variety of requirements aligned with the operational scenarios presented.”