Israel's Elbit Systems is poised to sell advanced UAVs to an as-yet unnamed South American nation, it reported on 15 June 2011.
The deal will involve the Hermes 900 design, which is a locally-made unmanned aerial vehicle and the successor to the earlier Hermes 450 UAV.
The Hermes 900 is intended as a long-range, medium-height level tactical drone, capable of 30+ hour missions and of flying at up to 30,000 feet above ground level. It's primarily a reconnaissance and surveillance platform, although it's conceivable that a strike capability will be added in future years. The type already features an unrivalled payload bay, allowing the carriage of various-shaped payloads and the option to rapidly change the Hermes 900's mission profile as a result.
Elbit Hermes 900 UAV
The Israeli Air Force currently operates the Hermes 450 and, 12 months ago, signed a contract with Elbit for a number of Hermes 900s, too. Now, the Hermes 900 UAV's racked up its first foreign order, although it's not been disclosed who the buyer is.
"We are very proud of the Hermes 900 selection, a major milestone in our UAS activity, following the Israeli Defense Forces' Hermes 900 order", Joseph Ackerman - Elbit Systems CEO and President, explained. "The selection attests to the customer's trust in our cutting edge UAS technology and further strengthens our position as a world leading UAS supplier.
Israeli UAV Ordered
"We hope that other international customers will follow in selecting the Hermes 900 as their preferred solution", Ackerman added, in a press release on the Israeli UAV order.
The Hermes 900's control system is the same as that used to operate the 450 series - a feature that allows customers that already have the 450 to easily convert to the newer model.
Elbit Systems was launched in 1967 and is among the dominant Israeli defence firms, alongside Israel Military Industries, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael. Between them, these four notched up total sales of $9.6bn during 2010. UAV sales accounted for much of this total amount.
Hermes 900 image copyright Tal Inbar, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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