Silver Arrow has developed a satellite communications (satcom) antenna for the Hermes 450 tactical unmanned air vehicle. The system removes the limit on the operational radius and provides beyond line of sight capability without the use of relay UAVs.

The gimballed directional antenna allows two-way data transmission, sending commands to the UAV while intelligence can also be downloaded.

The Israeli air force has previously used another UAV to relay data to and from the Hermes during long-range missions.

Elbit Systems subsidiary Silver Arrow claims the satcom antenna is unique for UAVs in the Hermes class. The system is housed in a pod on on the upper fuselage.

The Hermes-450 is a 450kg maximum take-off weight UAV that can carry a 120kg payload and has a 20h endurance.

Although the UAV can operate autonomously, the Israeli air force prefers to operate the Hermes 450 with an external operator for take-off and landing.

Source: Flight International