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.

Source: Flight International