Elbit Systems’ Hermes 900: Most Advanced UAS

Show: Defexpo India - Day 1 By R. Chandrakanth
  • The newest and most advanced UAS has been selected by the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport
  • Unique plug and play payload bay, enabling multiple payload options for multiple missions
  • Established partnerships with leading Indian companies and is determined to establish a strong leadership position for Hermes 900 in India

Following the changes in policies in India due to the ‘Make in India’ programme, the regulatory environment is now more open to cooperation. And cooperation is part of Elbit Systems’ DNA. As a high technology company Elbit Systems’ vision is to achieve operational excellence in its target markets, India being one of them. We see the ‘Make in India’ programme as a unique opportunity to contribute to making India a global manufacturing centre.

Elbit Systems’ business philosophy encourages partnerships with local industries and the utilisation of regional capabilities. The company has already established partnerships with a number of leading Indian companies, including the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics and Bharat Forge and it takes pride in these cooperations.

Offering a unique combination of capabilities, a strong local presence, extensive investment in R&D and emphasis on increased productivity, Elbit Systems is determined to establish a strong leadership position in the Indian market in each of its core businesses. Operating as a multi-domestic organization, it focuses its efforts both globally and locally (GloCal) in order to more effectively meet the needs of its customers.

Multi-mission Hermes 900

The newest and most advanced UAS, Hermes 900 is a next-generation multi-mission, multipayload medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAS. The Hermes 900 UAS has been selected by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Switzerland, Brazil, Chile and additional undisclosed customers and is the most suited solution for any type of persistent ISR, area dominance, ground support, and maritime patrol mission. Designed for minimal maintenance, Hermes 900 is not only a highly mission effective system but also a system with lower life-cycle costs.

Longer endurance

Hermes 900 is a natural extension of the successful Hermes 450, which has a track record of over 5,00,000 accumulated flight hours. Among the key capabilities offered by the Hermes 900 are longer endurance, flight altitude of 30,000 ft. and a large payload capacity (up to 350 kg). A unique 2.5 metre long internal payload bay is provided, capable of accommodating up to 250 kg and allowing quick modular payload installation and replacement, as well as additional payload installation capacity including four hard points under the wings. The UAS includes innovative avionics and electronic systems, a low noise engine, as well as solutions that can be offered for sense and avoid capabilities and safe integration of the UAS into the relevant air space.

Hermes 900 was developed in accordance with STANAG 4671 to the highest standards of safety and airworthiness. To facilitate capabilities to operate in adverse weather a suite of payloads is available as well as payloads such as SAR/GMTI capable of operating in cloud conditions.

The advanced Hermes 900 systems’ architecture separates safety critical flight systems from mission systems providing much greater flexibility and cost/optimisation in integration of new, even customer indigenous, payloads. The modular internal payload bay is also an important enabler for easy and modular payload integration and installation.

Exhaustive features, variety of missions

Hermes 900 system provides rich and versatile multi-payload configurations offering unique cutting edge sensors and systems with flexible and modular installation. The following payloads and sensors are offered to accomplish a wide variety of missions:

  • Digital EO/IR/Laser payload — DCoMPASS
  • SAR/GMTI & MPR Radar
  • SIGINT payloads: Skyfix COMINT/DF; Skyfix-G COMINT GSM system; SKYJAM communication jamming system; AES 210 V/V2 ESM (ELINT) system; additional EW systems
  • Stand off Long Range EO/IR/Laser system - AMPS
  • Electro-optic Mapping and Survey/Scanning system — LASSO
  • Wide Area Persistent System (WAPS)
  • Other payloads
  • Customer designated payloads

Hermes 900 also offers an advanced satellite communication data link and is operated from Elbit Systems’ Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS), enabling advanced mission management, highly autonomous and mission effective operation and automatic take-off and landing capability common to all the UAS in the Hermes family.

The advantages of using SATCOM

SATCOM is extremely important for a UAS in the Hermes 900’s category as it provides significantly enhanced mission flexibility. Leveraging SATCOM and Hermes 900’s long endurance, the system can perform missions at very long distances from the operating base constituting a ‘long arm’ capability. In addition, the UAS can take-off from a launch and recovery site in theatre and be controlled from a mission station positioned remotely and conveniently in the user’s home facilities thousands of miles away. Another significant advantage of SATCOM is the ability to fly at very low altitudes, without the limitation of line of sight obstruction caused by topography, as there is no need for line of sight between the UAS and its ground control station. In order to implement this capability, Elbit Systems uses a cutting-edge SATCOM system that combines highly advanced technologies, increasing band width efficiency and assuring maximum cost effectiveness for its customers.

The Universal Ground Control Stations (UGCS) is capable of controlling multiple types of UAS, our UGCS incorporate functionality derived from decades of UAS operations in Israel and support all mission phases from mission planning and preflight checks, through mission execution, debrief and training. Elbit Systems’ UGCS is especially designed for maximal flexibility in incorporating various payload types, data links and even other types of UAS. The UGCS is capable of concurrently controlling two parallel UAS missions using two Ground Data Terminals (GDTs). Each basic mission is fully controlled by a single operator. Hermes ground control station’s operation is highly autonomous and implements an advanced, proven, and ergonomic Human Machine Interface design. The high level of system autonomy enables the operator to focus on mission execution rather than on flying the air vehicle. For example, the same operator can control both the air vehicle and the EO/IR/Laser payload including slaving the air vehicle to the payload (‘fly-by-camera’). The UGCS is capable of disseminating data and video via WAN to remote HQ and/ or other networked entities and can be integrated into the customer’s C4I infrastructure. Supporting maritime patrol applications is an embedded maritime command and control capability.

Hermes 900 broadens the Elbit Systems’ UAS portfolio, which offers its customers a variety of mission capabilities, from mini-UAS, through tactical UAS, and up to higher chains of command for ground, naval and air forces. The operational experience accumulated by the Hermes systems for the Israeli Defense Forces and other leading armies worldwide, as well as the ongoing improvements based on its operational track record, have maintained this UAS family’s leadership in performance, reliability, variety of mission- oriented payloads and more.