Elbit Systems is planning the first flight of its Hermes-900 unmanned air vehicle before the end of the year.

The Hermes-900, Elbit's largest UAV, is an all weather system that has an automatic take-off and landing capabilty able to operate with runways that are not instrumented.

With its 15m (49ft) wingspan and a 970kg (2,100lb) maximum take-off weight the 115hp (84.5kW) Rotax 914 engine that powers it provides for a 300Kg payload capability and endurance of 40h.

For communication it uses a secured redundant line of sight datalink and a satellite communication system for beyond line of sight. The UAV is operated by Elbit's own Universal Ground Control Station, which according to the company can control two UAVs at any given time.

Elbit has teamed with Thales and L-3 MAS Canada and is offering the Hermes-900 to the Canadian army. In mid 2006 Elbit's Skylark UAV was procured by Canada and is mainly used by its forces deployed overseas.

Source: Flight International