Israel's Elbit Systems announced on April 12 that it was awarded two contracts to boost the capabilities of its Hermes 900 UAVs already deployed by Latin American customers.
The contracts worth a total of approximately $20 million will be performed within 12 months, according to the company. The customers were not identified.
Under the contracts, Elbit will integrate satellite communication and automatic takeoff-and-landing systems that will upgrade the medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft to the latest configuration. This will enable not only extension of the operational range to more than 1,000 km, but also autonomous takeoff and landing independent of GPS reception, Elbit said.
Since its debut 10 years ago, Elbit's Hermes 900 was selected by numerous customers across four continents, performing a wide range of missions in the fields of Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR), homeland security and maritime search and rescue, according to the company.
The drone is said to be able to carry a payload of up to 350 kg, reach a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet, and fly for up to 36 hours. It has been acquired by such countries as Iceland, Chile, Mexico and Brazil. The Hermes 900 has also been deployed by the Israeli Air Force.