Elbit adds life-raft drop capability to the Hermes 900

Elbit adds life-saving capability to Hermes 900 – link

Source: Flight Global

Article Headlines

  • Elbit Systems has added a life-saving capability to the maritime patrol version of its Hermes 900 UAV with four six-person life rafts that can be dropped to survivors
  • The Israeli company has delivered an example to an undisclosed customer in South-East Asia, and believes the latest feature could give its UAV an edge over manned aircraft in search and rescue contests, including the UK’s upcoming SAR-2G – or second generation – requirement
  • Elbit says the aircraft’s onboard radar and electro-optical/infrared sensor can visually identify survivors and calculate the best drop-point, enabling the rafts to be dispatched from as low as 600 ft to a point a safe distance from those in the sea
  • Elbit’s UK subsidiary is already planning to demonstrate the Hermes 900, alongside the hand-launched Skylark platform, to the country’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) off the west Wales coast this August to assess the feasibility of using UAVs to support search and rescue missions
  • The MCA is expected to begin its SAR-2G tender process next year, with the aim of issuing a 10- to 15-year contract ahead of the expiry of current SAR provider Bristow’s deal in 2023
  • The MCA is keen that bidders incorporate both manned and unmanned platforms in their offers
  • According to the statement the UK faces a “long-range SAR problem” in the Atlantic Ocean, where vessels get into distress beyond the range of helicopters based in Ireland or southwest England, but within the capabilities of the Hermes 900

Overview & Comments

  • With more than 24 hrs of endurance, SATCOM for BVLOS / low altitude flight profiles and EO/IR, Maritime SAR & AIS payloads integrating capable UAS in active maritime SAR operations, as an alternative to passive detect only mission, is a natural cost-effective evolution for UAS operations
  • See “Elbit Systems to conduct maritime patrol in the UK” 
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