Singapore seals deal for Hermes 450 UAVs

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Singapore is to acquire an unspecified number of Elbit Systems Hermes 450 unmanned air vehicles to operate alongside its fleet of Israel Aerospace Industries Searcher aircraft.

Announcing the acquisition plan late last month, defence minister Teo Chee Hean said the new type would be phased in "over the next few years".

"The introduction of the Hermes 450 UAV offers an enhancement to our battlefield surveillance capability with its extended endurance, advanced avionics and sensors," said Teo on 25 May, as Singapore formally stood up its new tri-service UAV command.

A Hermes 450 was displayed at the ceremony, although it is unclear whether this was a demonstrator system or an initial delivery article.

"The UAV command has been constituted as an integrated entity," Teo said. "This allows UAV-borne capabilities to be effectively integrated and optimised for use when needed by forces from all three services."

The purchase will make Singapore the third declared buyer of the 450kg (990lb) Hermes 450, following the Israeli air force and the British Army. Botswana is also believed to have had a small number of aircraft in service for at least two years. The UAV has an endurance of over 20h.