A batch of Heron UAVs produced for Turkey by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Elbit Systems have passed critical performance tests in Israel, and Ankara is ready to accept the delivery of the drones, Turkey's top procurement official said Feb. 12.
"Six of the aircraft have successfully passed the tests inspected by a delegation of Turkish officials," said Murad Bayar, head of the government's defense procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries. "We are expecting their deliveries in the weeks ahead. And this closes the deal from our point of view."
The remaining four UAVs in the program will undergo similar performance tests in the next few months.
Turkey and the Israeli team had been at odds over delays of more than two years in the delivery of the Herons. The dispute regarding the technical fulfillment of contract specifications was resolved after revisions in the original terms and conditions, Bayar said.
IAI and Elbit won the Turkish UAV contract in 2005 against U.S. rivals. But the program was dogged from the start by technical difficulties.
The contract was worth $183 million, of which about $50 million would go to Turkish subcontrators Turkish Aerospace Industries and Aselsan.