The Heron drones in Afghanistan are operated by a five person crew. An air vehicle operator, supplied by the contractor, three intelligence personnel, and a support staff. The contractor is presumably from MacDonald Dettwiler Associates. MDA handles landing and takeoff, which are the ‘riskier’ aspects of the flight, and presumably prevents military forces from having embarrasing accidents.
One Canadian Heron has apparently crashed at Kandahar air base, in a ‘ground incident’.