The Israeli air force (IAF) is acquiring more unmanned air vehicles with advanced payloads to satisfy the growing demand for their services.

As an immediate step, the existing inventory of Elbit Systems Hermes 900 UAVs will be multiplied by six, the IAF announced on 19 December.

“This platform is a base for many operational technological abilities that will be integrated and [migrate] from manned to unmanned platforms,” Lt Col Daniel, IAF squadron commander, says.

On 15 July 2014, the UAV took off on its first operational mission for the IAF over the Gaza strip, and the measures to increase the fleet size will move the squadron that operates the type closer to full operational capability.

Hermes 900 - Elbit Systems

Elbit Systems

The Kochav, as it is known in Israeli service, has gathered hundreds of flight hours and performed its mission more than 100 times with a high success rate, according to the IAF.

The Hermes 900 medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV is now offered with a large variety of sensors that have been adapted from systems developed for manned aircraft and ground systems.

The UAV has also been selected by Brazil and Switzerland, the latter to receive the type with a heavy fuel engine.