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Thai navy orders Hermes 900 UAVs

The Royal Thai Navy's order of Hermes 900 Maritime unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is expected to strengthen the navy's blue water and littoral operations. (Elbit Systems)

The Royal Thai Navy has placed an order for Hermes 900 maritime unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Israel.

In a statement on 28 September, Elbit Systems Ltd cited the value of the contract at THB4.6 billion (USD120 million). The company added that the medium-altitude long-range (MALE) UAVs will be equipped with a maritime radar, an electro-optic payload, satellite communication (satcom) equipment, droppable inflated life rafts, and other capabilities.

The UAV “is intended to enable the Royal Thai Navy to perform both blue water and littoral missions, dominate vast swathes of sea and long coastlines”, Elbit said.

The Hermes will also be used “to communicate with operational vessels and carry out civilian missions such as maritime search-and-rescue and identification of suspicious activities and potential hazards”, Elbit added.

In a Facebook post on 21 September, the Royal Thai Navy said that Elbit has a four-year period to perform the contract, from fiscal year 2022 to 2025. The navy added that the UAV will be used to patrol shipping routes and the country's coastline.

The Thai navy has not said how many UAVs will be supplied under the contract. According to Janes data, the Hermes 900 ranges in price between USD5.83 million and USD6.85 million per unit. However, the contract also very likely covers significant ground infrastructure costs.

The navy had not responded toa request for comment at the time of publication.

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