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Silver Arrow's Hermes 180 set to make first flight

Israel's Silver Arrow plans to fly its latest unmanned air vehicle (UAV), the Hermes 180, in May. The aircraft is designed for heavy-duty use in the field, says Silver Arrow senior director UAV operations Hemi Kurlander. The 6m- (1.8ft) wingspan, 4.4m-long UAV features a three-sensor package in a turret under the fuselage, and a 30kg (66lb) Elop package containing day and night sensors and a laser designator for aiming weapons. Like Silver Arrow, Elop is an arm of Elbit Systems. Silver Arrow-owned UEL supplies the UEL741 rotary engine.

The Hermes 180 has common avionics and datalinks with Silver Arrow's Hermes 450 tactical long-endurance UAV and Hermes 1500 medium altitude long-endurance system, says Kurlander. The ground control station is common except for twin-engine controls in the Hermes 1500 system.

Kurlander says the UAV will operate from a wheeled undercarriage or a ramp, landing under a parachute using two dual-cell airbags to cushion the impact. Flight tests will begin with three months envelope expansion.

Kurlander declines to say when the system will enter service and with which country.