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India orders Hermes 900 for army, navy

The Hermes 900 is the latest in the Hermes family of UAVs. (Elbit Systems Ltd)

The Indian government has ordered Elbit Systems Hermes 900 StarLiner unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) for the Indian Army and Indian Navy, according to a defence source.

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), however, said it could not comment on how many of the medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being procured. Janes was told that the acquisition is part of an emergency procurement tranche. Indian media has reported that the contract covers the delivery of two Hermes 900 each for the Indian Army and Navy.

Janes understands that delivery of the UASs will start in 2024. Elbit Systems did not respond to a Janes query for information at the time of publication. However, it is possible that the acquisition is connected to a 7 March announcement by Elbit about the 120th order of its Hermes 900 UAS.

On its website, Elbit Systems describes the StarLiner as a derivative of the Hermes 900. The company has earlier said that the StarLiner can carry and operate multiple sensors simultaneously. Elbit Systems has also described the StarLiner as being a heavy-fuel, engine-powered MALE UAS optimised for operation in civil environments and in adverse weather conditions.

The UAS's payload options include laser designators or markers, the SkEye wide area persistent video surveillance system, the SPECTRO XR multispectral electro-optic (EO) payload, L3Harris Wescam MX-15/-20 EO imagers, Rafael VisionMapʼs MIST G dual-spectral airborne mapping and surveillance system, Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI)/maritime patrol/search-and-rescue (SAR) radars, and electronic warfare (EW) systems.

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