The description of Elbit Systems as a “multi-domestic” company will be tested again soon, as the Israeli company has decided to look at the Asia-Pacific as a prime market for its unmanned air systems (UAS).
Elbit will display products including its Hermes 900 UAS at the Korea Defence & Aerospace exhibition, which takes place in Seoul from 29 October to 3 November this year.
Based on the combat proven Hermes 450 UAS, the Hermes 900 can reach an altitude of more than 30,000 ft (9,144m), has a large payload capacity (300kg) and performs well in adverse weather conditions.
It is 8.3m long with a wingspan of 15m, and has a maximum take-off weight of 1,100kg.
In April this year, Elbit Systems entered into partnership with Sharp Aviation K Inc in Seoul, creating Sharp Elbit Systems Aerospace (SESA), a jointly-owned company based in South Korea.
Elbit Systems owns 19%, with an option to expand this to a 50% share.
SESA operates in Ansan, and among other capabilities, offers maintenance, repair and manufacture of advanced military aircraft avionics as well as research and development of systems and avionics for both existing and future projects, such as the Korean Light Attack Helicopter and the Korean Future Fighter development projects.
As a Korean company, SESA will also be able to offer offset solutions to foreign suppliers and OEMs selling defence goods and services in Korea.
This joint company will coordinate Elbit Systems’ marketing efforts in the region.
In 2011 Elbit Systems won a contract to supply the Hermes 900 UAS to the Chilean defence forces. The decision was made after the Chilean army and air force evaluated the Hermes 900 together with the rival Heron UAS manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
The Chilean air force is currently operating three Hermes 900 UAS for strategic reconnaissance missions, with one of these carrying a maritime patrol radar.
As reported by Flight International recently, the Chilean navy is also exploring the possibility of using Elbit Systems’ Hermes 900 UAS for maritime patrol tasks.