Brazil’s Embraer reveals new Harpias UAV

Harpias.jpgWhen Embraer partnered with Elbit Systems last year, it was obvious they would need to redesign the Hermes 450 to satisfy the needs of the Brazilian Air Force.

After all, the Hermes 450 was designed for Israel, where 150-200km mission radius from the ground control station is more than enough. But a 200km footprint in Brazil is not a range; its a joke. The Embraer/Elbit collaboration would have to, at minimum, add a beyond-line-of-sight antenna.

But we had no idea how much the Embraer/Elbit collaboration would depart from the baseline design of the Hermes 450.

The image shown above was revealed this morning in Embraer’s third quarter earnings presentation. It reveals a very different aircraft than the Hermes 450. We almost confused the Harpias with the Heron, which is of course made by Elbit’s rival Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

The Harpias gives the Embraer/Elbit team an all-new, medium-sized UAS. Who knows? If it works, it may generate export interest in its own right, perhaps adding a new competitor against the IAI Heron and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Predator A. 

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