France and the UK signed MoUs for the first phase of a Future Combat Air System (FCAS) based on a UCAV, and for industrial and military cooperation on the Watchkeeper tactical UAV. But although British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond reported “excellent progress on UAVs” after a meeting with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, no agreement was reached on joint-study funding for a Male UAV.
Elbit Hermes 450
Anglo-French cooperation on MALE UAVs may have stalled, according to reports from Paris and from informed sources AIN spoke to at the Farnborough International airshow yesterday. However, it appears that that the proposed joint UCAV study will still be sanctioned when French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visits London on July 24.
Boeing announced three significant new defense partnerships here yesterday, although one partner was not identified. The American group signed a memorandum of understanding with Elbit Systems to promote the Hermes 450 and 900 UAVs in the U.S.
The Hermes 450 UAV designed by Israel’s Elbit Systems has been acquired as a surveillance platform by at least 10 countries, including Singapore, but only the UK has requested major changes.
A new UAV design on display here is Elbit’s Hermes 900, the bigger cousin of the popular Hermes 450. The family genes make the Hermes 900 particularly attractive to operators of the Hermes 450–a roster that includes Singapore–as it employs the same ground control stations and maintenance processes.
Elbit Systems’ Brazilian subsidiary, AEL Sistemas, will supply the self-protection suite and directed, infrared countermeasures for the new Embraer KC-390 military airlifter, as well as the pilots’ head-up display (HUD) system, the companies announced late last month. AEL earlier was selected to provide the aircraft’s mission computers.
The $1.6 billion Watchkeeper program for the British Army has made Thales the biggest UAV company in Europe, and in its UAV systems laboratory, also known as the Soul battlelab near Bordeaux, the company’s engineers are exploring the requirements for future ground control stations and mission systems.
Israel’s Elbit Systems has announced a number of important developments in recent weeks, covering a range of the company’s diverse capabilities. A selection of its services and products are showcased on the company’s booth in the Israeli Pavilion.
Elbit Systems of Haifa, Israel, announced the first export sale of its Hermes 900 unmanned aerial system to a “Latin American country,” identified by various sources as Chile. The number of systems and air vehicles to be supplied is unspecified, but the contract includes ground control stations and sensors, including the DCoMPASS (digital compact multi-purpose advanced stabilized system) and radar systems.
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) made two defense procurement decisions, but deferred the long-pending choice of a new combat aircraft. It bought an unspecified number of Hermes 450 UAV systems from the Brazilian subsidiary of Elbit Systems. The Israeli company noted that it has now sold UAVs to more than 20 countries and that the Hermes 450 has logged more than 200,000 operational flight hours.