By ARIE EGOZI
Tel Aviv. Elbit Systems was awarded an approximately US$300 million contract by a country in Asia to provide Hermes 900 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The contract will be performed over a period of five years.
Under the contract, the Company will provide its Hermes 900 UAS and associated sub-systems, as well as maintenance and support services. The Hermes 900 UAS has been selected to date, by 12 countries, attesting to its competitive edge that combines technological sophistication, reliability, open architecture and a solid growth path.
Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, Elbit Systems President & CEO, commented: “There is a continuous demand for integrating unmanned systems to cope with a growing variety of operational needs. Our operational portfolio of autonomous capabilities, in all domains of operation, position us competitively to address these needs.”
With a wingspan of 15m, the 1.2 ton, Hermes 900 is already deployed with more than a dozen advanced customers around the globe providing search, rescue and reconnaissance capabilities. The company offers extended life-saving capabilities with its recently launched Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol configuration with inflated life-rafts for detection, identification and saving the lives of survivors at sea. It was revealed that this configuration was delivered to an undisclosed customer in South-East Asia.
Elbit systems has some years ago adapted the Hermes- 900, for operations in civil airspace.
Elbit Systems has identified a big potential market for UAV in the thin line between military and homeland security operations and that required a capability to operate in civil airspace.
According to the Israeli company, the Hermes 900 StarLiner, features adverse weather capabilities and is fully compliant with NATO’s Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4671, qualifying it to be safely integrated into civilian airspace and fly in the same environment with manned aircraft.
The company says that security events, such as the dismantling of ISIS and diverse geo-political tensions, have caused European countries to re-orient defence efforts from involvement in far-away conflicts to coping with intensifying homeland and border security challenges.
This shift according to Elbit has resulted in a growing demand for advanced yet mature UAV that can be safely integrated into civilian air space and provide the technological capabilities that are required to effectively and safely perform complex homeland and border security missions.
The Hermes 900 StarLiner has been designed to be in full compliance with STANAG 4671 and to incorporate the most advanced aviation technologies, including: cooperative and non-cooperative Detect & Avoid Systems, train Avoidance Warning System, Automatic Take-off and Landing in near zero visibility, redundant broad bandwidth line-of-sight (LOS), beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) data link and adverse weather capabilities such as de-icing and direct lightning strike sustainment.
According to Elbit, these technological enhancements, allow the aircraft to operate in both visual and instrument meteorological conditions, and its powerful heavy fuel engine provides improved climb rate, extended endurance and higher ceiling and maximum speed.
-The writer is an Israel-based freelance journalist