PICTURES: Brazilian air force launches Hermes 450 evaluation

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Brazil has launched an air force-led programme that will define its future operational requirements for unmanned air vehicles.

Evaluation work is under way at Santa Maria air base in Rio Grande using two Elbit Systems Hermes 450 UAVs, ground control station and support equipment. This was delivered via the Israeli firm's Brazilian subsidiary Aeroeletronica in December 2009 and has since been used to support personnel training.

 
© Elbit Systems

A ceremony was held at Santa Maria on 10 May to mark the establishment of a new UAV centre of excellence. This was attended by air force chief of staff Lt Brig Juniti Saito and senior representatives from the Brazilian army and navy.

To conclude in December, the air force's evaluation of the Hermes 450 will also investigate the requirements of the army, navy and additional government agencies. The process will include test flights and participation in local exercises.

 
© Brazilian air force

Brazil will launch a process to select a supplier for an operational UAV after the evaluation work has concluded, the air force says. The system will be used for reconnaissance, search and rescue, public safety and environmental monitoring duties, it adds.

"Our goal is to learn from what the military needs for the future operation of UAVs in Brazil," says Jaime Vitor Neves, executive director of Porto Alegre-based Aeroeletronica.