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Israel sells Hermes UAVs in Latin America

Aug. 7, 2012 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

SAO PAULO, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- While Brazil develops its capability for producing high-tech unmanned aircraft system, its long-term Israel partner Elbit has secured another multimillion-dollar contract to supply its Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 drones to an unnamed Latin America country.

The recipient country wasn't named in Elbit's announcement from Haifa, Israel. It has been reported that the defense manufacturer previously supplied unmanned airborne system units to Chile and Mexico.

Embraer entered into a partnership with Elbit Systems Ltd. to share the technology that has enabled Elbit to expand its global markets for UAS units.

Elbit said it was awarded a contract valued at "many tens of millions of dollars" to supply a Latin American customer with a mixed fleet of Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 UAVs. The contract will run through the next two years, it said.

The deal includes universal ground control stations and a variety of payloads and capabilities including the electro-optics Elop Division's advanced payloads systems, the Elisra Division's intelligence COMINT systems, SAR/MPR multi mode radar and additional sensors.

Hermes 450, developed by Elbit, has been the back bone of the Israeli forces' operational UAV activity. The Hermes 450 UAVs have been used extensively in defense forces worldwide, including in active war zones and have accumulated more than 300,000 operational flight hours.

The Hermes 900 system builds on the vast operational experience accumulated by the Hermes 450. It offers a range of enhanced capabilities, from higher flight altitude of 30,000 feet to longer endurance and heavier weight payloads.

The system's unique structure enables it to carry a variety of payloads in various shapes and sizes for quick "conversion" between payload configurations.

Elad Aharonson, Elbit Systems UAS Division general manager said, "We are proud of the customer's decision to acquire a combined array of Hermes 450 and Hermes 900, joining several other Hermes 900 customers, including the Israeli Defense Forces."

"Hermes 900 is well positioned as a world-leading UAS, suitable for a wide variety of missions, from intelligence gathering, to perimeter and security missions. The unique capability of joint operation with the Hermes 450 offers seamless integration for existing users, further enhancing operational flexibility and cost effectiveness and eliminating the need for additional infrastructure or special training programs."

Last year Embraer revealed partial details of a new medium-altitude UAV being developed by its Harpia joint venture with Elbit Systems subsidiary AEL.

The Harpia UAV, unveiled in an earnings presentation by Embraer, bears little resemblance to Elbit's Hermes 450, which was acquired by the Brazilian air force in 2011.

Embraer and Elbit are also involved in a three-way partnership with Boeing on a range of unmanned craft.

Boeing is developing a high-altitude long endurance unmanned vehicle, the Phantom Eye while it offers small UAVs via the Insitu subsidiary.

The triangular relationship between Boeing, Elbit and Embraer coincides with Boeing's continuing pitch for its F-18 Super Hornet fighter to be adopted as Brazil's fighter of choice in its multibillion-dollar air force renovation program.

AEL Sistemas, the Brazilian subsidiary of Elbit, was chosen by Boeing to provide large cockpit displays for the F-15 and the F-18 fighters.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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