PICTURES: Elbit nears 50th flight with Hermes 900 UAV

Tel Aviv
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Elbit Systems will deliver its first Hermes 900 unmanned air vehicle to the Israeli air force in 2011 and has so far completed 45 flights using prototype examples.

The company earlier this year was awarded an initial contract for the large UAV, which is expected to become fully operational in 2012. Elbit also expects to receive follow-on orders for the system.

Later this year Elbit will begin test flying the Hermes 900 with a special version of Elop's Compass electro-optical/infrared payload.

 Hermes-900---Elbit-Systems
 © Elbit Systems

Capable of flying at altitudes above 30,000ft (9,150m) and in adverse weather conditions, the new aircraft has a large payload capacity. The design is a development of Elbit's combat-proven Hermes 450 tactical UAV, which has accumulated over 180,000 flight hours, including 30,000h flown in support of British Army operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Hermes 900 uses the same universal command and control ground station as the baseline aircraft.

Elbit's new UAV is 8.3m long, has a 15m wingspan and a maximum take-off weight of 1,100kg (2,420lb), including a payload capacity of 300kg.

Hermes-900-ground---Elbit-S 
 © Elbit Systems