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Singapore Airshow 2024: Elbit unveils new Hermes 650 tactical UAV

According to Elbit Systems, the Hermes 650's front-engine configuration is designed to support several capabilities such as short take-off, increased endurance, and the ability to support a diverse payload. (Elbit Systems/Janes)

Elbit Systems unveiled its new front-engine Hermes 650 Spark tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on 21 February at Singapore Airshow 2024.

Speaking to Janes, vice-president and head of Business Development and Marketing at Elbit Systems, Ziv Avni described the Hermes 650 as being in the one-tonne category of UAVs and fitting in between the company's Skylark family of miniature UAVs and the Hermes 900 medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE).

According to Avni, the UAV is currently in flight-testing, with Elbit Systems already under contract to produce an unspecified number of UAVs for an undisclosed customer country.

With an operating speed of between 55 and 120 kt, the Hermes 650 has been designed for versatility in operating speeds and fuel efficiency, Avni said. “Its wide [operating] envelope [allows the UAV to use its] high speed to get to the mission area but then go into slower speeds to be very efficient in loitering,” Avni added, explaining that the UAV has an endurance of at least 24 hours.

The design of the Hermes 650 departs from other Elbit System UAVs in that it is powered by a puller configuration engine in the nose. Many of Elbit System's UAV designs incorporate a pusher propeller design, with the powerplant at the rear of the fuselage.

According to Avni, the puller configuration engine was adopted to incorporate an “overpowered” engine compared with other platforms of its size. Janes

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