Israeli-developed unmanned air systems (UAS) have beenupgraded to perform to the maximum of their design capabilities.
Development of these systems is driven by the payloads theywill carry - and here the work has only just begun.
I use the word “payload” as a very general termfor what these unmanned aircraft can be equipped for. The list of specific UASapplications is long and diverse, and requirements are growing as UAS areincreasingly being used for missions that were previously carried out bymanned flights.
And yes, the list of UAS applications is highly classified.
The increasing use of UAS, of course, generates business forIsraeli manufacturers.
Elbit Systems was recently awarded a contract worthapproximately $35m by the Israel Ministry of Defence (MOD) to developadvanced features for its UAS, to be supplied within three years. One of theMOD’s requirements is that UAS payloads should be quickly reconfigurable.
This contract is in addition to MOD contracts awarded to ElbitSystems for the supply of Hermes 900 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), andmaintenance services.
As reported by Flightglobal, Elbit Systems has upgraded theelectronics of Hermes 900 UAVs to allow the installation of some veryadvanced payloads, required by current and potential customers.
Released photographs show the UAVs with two payloads andelectronic intelligence (Elint) and communication intelligence (Comint)antennas. Operational configuration will not necessarily include all thesensors carried on the platform during the tests.
The Hermes 900 was tested carrying the Elbit/Elop DCoMPASSday/night payload and, under its mid section, the AMPS multi-sensorpayload. Elint and Comint antennas were showed on the fuselage and wings.
The Hermes 900 is operated by the Israeli air force (IAF)and has been purchased by the Chilean and Colombian defence forces.It can operate at flight altitudes of more than 30,000ft, and in adverseweather conditions.
It has a large payload capacity - to a maximum weightof 300kg - and is based on the combat-proven Hermes 450 UAV, whichhas accumulated more than 250,000 flight hours.
The Hermes 900 is 8.3m long, has as a wingspan of 15m, and amax takeoff weight of 1,100kg.
In recent months Elbit Systems has completed a series offlight tests with new “very advanced” payloads, whichwere carried by its Hermes 450 UAV.
The fast change of these UAV’s payloads is intended toincrease the operational capabilities of the two types, but details areclassified.