Switzerland has received in-country the first of six Elbit Systems Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), the government announced on 9 December.
The Israeli-built medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAS, serial D-II, was shown to reporters at the Emmen air base from which it will perform border surveillance and disaster relief.
As noted by national media, a six-month delay in certifying the use of the Hermes 900 HFE (Heavy Fuel Engine) in Swiss airspace means that, while the first aircraft is now in-country, helicopters will perform the UAS's role for the time being.
Elbit Systems was awarded an approximately USD200 million contract by the Swiss government for the procurement of its Hermes 900 UASs in November 2015. The contract, which was placed by the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sport (VBS-DDPS), covered the UASs and a ground control station.
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