Elbit Systems has developed a small tactical-level unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that is designed to offer extended endurance.
The Hermes 45 draws on technology from the wider Hermes family of UAS, and Jane’s understands that it has a maximum operating endurance of in excess of 24 hours – more akin to that of a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) system.
The air vehicle has a blended wing design with a combustion engine driving a pusher propeller. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 65 kg, including a payload capacity of up to 15 kg, and can simultaneously operate with up to three payloads.
Hermes 45 is primarily intended as an ISR asset, payloads earmarked for the UAS include electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors, maritime radar, and electronic and signals intelligence systems, among others.
The aircraft utilises a short rail launcher that can be installed on naval vessels and integrated on vehicles; it is recovered by an automated spot landing system that does not require a landing strip or other infrastructure. The exact details of the landing profile have not been revealed, although an examination of the vehicle’s design would suggest this utilises a parachute, the aircraft’s ability to deploy from naval vessels also points to an at-sea recovery capability – Elbit Systems has already developed this for its small Skylark C UAS. It is claimed that the air vehicle can be relaunched within 20 minutes of recovery.
Hermes 45 has an operational ceiling of 15,000 ft and can be controlled out to a range of 250 km; it can also utilise a satellite communications system. The system is operated by a two-person crew.
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