The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) awarded Israel’s Elbit Systems a contract to supply a Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft system (UAS), “which will be equipped with a new and advanced intelligence-gathering system considered a breakthrough operational solution,” Elbit announced on March 26. The FAB will operate the aircraft in tandem with smaller Hermes 450s it already uses. Both will perform safety and security missions during the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament starting in Brazil in mid-June.
Elbit’s AEL Systemas subsidiary in Porto Alegre, Brazil, will supply the FAB with technical, engineering, logistical and maintenance support. The subsidiary works on projects for Brazil’s army and air force and employs 200 people, Elbit said. “The contract is in an amount that is not material to Elbit Systems, and the Hermes 900 will be supplied within two months,” the company said.
The Hermes 900 medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS has a takeoff weight of 2,601 pounds (1,180 kg), maximum payload capacity of 772 pounds (350 kg) and 36 hours’ endurance, according to Elbit. It can carry a range of different payloads, including electro-optical/infrared, SAR/GMTI radar, signals intelligence and other sensors. Brazil’s FAB is the eighth customer of the Hermes 900, which is operated by the Israeli Air Force and other world militaries. The IAF recently assigned the aircraft the name Kochav, or star in Hebrew.
Elbit announced in 2011 that AEL had won a contract to supply Hermes 450s to the FAB. In June that year, it announced the first export sale of the Hermes 900 to an unspecified “Latin American country” identified by independent sources as Chile. Just over a year later, it announced a contract to supply both Hermes 450 and 900 systems for another customer in the region, identified in press reports as Colombia. Last year the company delivered Hermes 900s to Israel’s military and two other customers. It plans to deliver two more systems in the coming months.