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Israel signs launch order for Elbit's Hermes 900 UAV

Elbit Systems has secured the launch order for its new Hermes 900 unmanned air vehicle, with the purchase forming part of a roughly $50 million deal with the Israeli defence ministry.

Also covering a further batch of smaller Hermes 450s, the contract will lead to deliveries over the next three years, says Elbit.

Based on the Israeli company's Hermes 450 design, which has now accumulated more than 170,000 flight hours, the Hermes 900 can operate at altitudes above 30,000ft (9,150m).

Both aircraft use the same universal command and control ground station.

"By introducing the Hermes 900 into our growing unmanned aircraft system portfolio, we continue to provide the Israel Defence Force with effective solutions for its varying operational needs," says Elbit chief executive Joseph Ackerman. "We trust that many customers will follow the IDF's selection of the Hermes 900."

© Elbit Systems

First flown in Israel last December, the tactical UAV has a wingspan of 15m and a maximum take-off weight of 1,100kg (2,420lb), including a payload of up to 300kg.

The Hermes 450 is used by Israel in support of its anti-terror efforts, and is also operated by the British Army in Afghanistan under an urgent operational requirement deal with Thales UK.

In addition to the new air vehicles, the defence ministry's order also includes related enhancements to its current UAS intelligence capabilities, says Elbit.

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