Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) UAV from Elbit Systems
Addressing the growing demand for tactical, medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV platforms, Elbit Systems is unveiling a new ‘mid-size’ platform called Hermes 900. Positioned between the successful Hermes 450 and the long endurance Hermes 1500 twin engine craft, the new Hermes 900 will weigh 970 kg (Maximum takeoff weight) and a wingspan of 15 meters. While offering all Hermes 450 capabilities, the new aircraft features larger multi-payload configurations (up to 300 kg), higher flight altitude and extended flight time without the need for external fuel tanks.
The Hermes 900 system supports numerous missions and specialized applications such as electro-optics, IR imaging laser range finder and laser designation as well as SAR/GMTI, Comint DF and ELINT. The system maintains secured redundant Line of Sight (LOS) data link as well as redundant a satellite communication Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS). Initial Hermes 900 photos indicate a clean wing configuration, and no indication of external stores or weapons is given. However, given that Hermes 450 has such capbility, it can be assumed that the ‘900 model can do the same. In fact, a similar platform, such as the Predator MQ-1A UAV can accomodate two mission paylaods (such as two EOs balls or one EO ball and a SAR) in addition to four Hellfire missiles or a pair of GBU-12s laser guided bombs.
Designed for maximum endurance, the aircraft uses retractable gear to reduce drag. The wing has full length flaperons, optimizing wing profile for different flight conditions and further economizing flight economy and fuel consumption during the flight transition phases. The Hermes 900 uses an IATOL (Independent Auto Takeoff and Landing) system enables auto-landing even in alternate non-instrumented runways. The nose can be configured to carry an integral satellite communications terminal for missions beyond line of sight. Like the Hermes 450, the new UAV features full redundancy and fault tolerant avionics and electronics architecture. The Hermes 900 has outgrown beyond the power levels offered by the UEL rotary engines powering the Hermes 450. The ‘900 model uses a more powerful, fully-certified Rotax 914 100 hp engine. The new UAV is well-equipped with advanced features including built-in autonomous emergency procedures, ATC (Air Traffic Control) radio, radio relay and IFF transponder.
Hermes 900 will have full compatibility the current Hermes 450, in mission control and support infrastructure. It is controlled by Elbit Systems’ UGCS (Universal Ground Control Station). This enables control of two UAVs at any given time from a single ground station (with allocation of two ground data terminals), while a single operator operates the air vehicle and payloads for each UAV.