Elbit and General Dynamics Offer Hermes 90 UAV

 - June 18, 2009, 12:24 PM

Israel’s Elbit showed the latest member of its UAV family for the first time at the Paris Air Show in June. The Hermes 90 has an 85-kilogram mtow, of which 25 kilograms can be sensor payload. It can be operated by a crew of two, who can turn it round between missions in about 15 minutes. Endurance is over 18 hours at an altitude of 15,000 feet. Its appearance in Paris follows the creation of a joint venture between Elbit and General Dynamics to promote the sale of unmanned air systems into the U.S., which Elbit now considers a “home” market. Based at Fort Mill, South Carolina, UAS Dynamics marks the return of the General Dynamics name to military aviation.

One of the first targets of the new joint venture is the Small Tactical UAS/Tier II requirement for U.S. forces, principally the Marine Corps. Several companies are chasing this opportunity, including Raytheon with its KillerBee and Northrop Grumman with the Bat, both using a similar vehicle designed originally by Swift Engineering.

UAS Dynamics plans to demonstrate the Hermes 90 to the Marine Corps in early July as part of evaluations overseen by the U.S. Navy’s PMA-263 office. The Hermes 90’s ability to launch from ramps and runways and to land on either skids or wheels enables it to operate in the field or at sea. It is available with either gasoline or heavy fuel engines.