Elbit Takes New Orders for Hermes 900, Develops Maritime Version of UAS

 - March 7, 2013, 6:00 PM
Elbit has taken new orders for the Hermes 900 UAS and developed a maritime surveillance version, as shown here. (Photo: Elbit Systems)

Elbit Systems announced new orders from home and abroad for its top-of-the-line Hermes 900-series UAV system. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) placed a follow-on order on December 31 last year, having first bought the system in 2010. The IDF has also funded some new features, including quick reconfiguration of payloads, in a separate contract placed in January worth $35 million. The company also sold a Hermes 900 system comprising multiple UAVs and ground stations to “a customer in the Americas.“

Elbit is now offering a maritime surveillance version of the Hermes 900, which was displayed for the first time at the recent Aero India show in Bangalore. The payload includes a maritime surveillance radar as well as the standard electro-optical sensor, plus an electronic surveillance system and the automatic identification system (AIS) for shipping. Eyeing India’s long coastline, Elbit noted that maritime patrol aircraft could not possibly cover the country’s 200-mile offshore economic exclusion zone (EEZ) without the benefit of cross-cueing from a wide-area surveillance system such as the Hermes 900. Elbit claims that the UAV could fly as far as 1,000 nm offshore thanks to satellite communications, and make frequent descents from higher altitude so that the EO/IR sensor could identify vessels. The command-and-control system is housed in a single shelter that can allow it to be carried by ships. Elbit has teamed with another Israeli company, Marint, to offer advanced maritime analytical software that can exploit data from multiple sources. “Vessel behavior is analyzed to detect anomalous and suspicious behavior that differs from routine maritime patterns,” the company said.

Meanwhile, Elbit’s joint venture in Brazil with Embraer accepted a new shareholder: Brazilian UAS developer Avibras. Harpia Systems will henceforth be only 40 percent owned by the Israeli company, down from 49 percent. Avibras brings to the joint venture its Falcão (Falcon) UAS, which is being developed for the Brazilian air force. The latter is also buying Hermes 450 UASs from Harpia Systems.