First batch of Israeli Hermes 900 delivered to Switzerland
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A new step in the supply of Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Switzerland. The first two of six Elbit Systems Hermes 900 Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE) drones have been received from Israel.
The Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports (VBS) announced the milestone on April 29, noting that the two drones (dubbed ADS 15 in that country) and two ground control stations (GCS) are arrived in two deliveries, Janes. com reported.
“The [UAVs and GCSs] were transported from Israel to Switzerland by sea and land. Another element of the deliveries were various materials for maintenance and sub-assemblies, which are necessary for the operation of the ADS 15,” the VBS said.
The first drones have already been assembled and will undergo a functional check before the first flight tests in mid-May. They will then be handed over to the Air Force in the second half. Four other drones will be delivered by the end of 2023.
The total cost of the six drones is around 250 million francs (around $256 million at the time) and they should be operational for 20 years, according to swissinfo.ch.
Hermes 900 offers persistent multi-mission and multi-payload capabilities over the horizon with a peak payload capacity of 350 kg. Hermes 900 is capable of performing area dominance and persistent ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) missions.
In Switzerland, the six drones will be used, among other things, to monitor borders, search for missing persons in the mountains or assess a situation after a natural disaster.
Switzerland currently has no reconnaissance drones. The Ranger ADS 95 was decommissioned in November 2019 after 20 years of use. Border guards currently use helicopters.