The Hermes 900 is Elbit Systems’ next-generation multi-mission, multi-payload Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The Hermes 900 is a natural extension of the successful Hermes 450, which has a track record of over 300,000 accumulated flight hours.
Among the key capabilities offered by the Hermes 900 are longer endurance, flight altitude of 30,000 ft. and a large payload capacity (up to 350kg). A unique 2.5 meter long internal payload bay is provided, capable of accommodating up to 250 kg and allowing quick modular payload installation and replacement, as well as additional payload installation capacity including four hard points under the wings. The UAS includes innovative avionics and electronic systems, a low noise engine, as well as solutions that can be offered for sense & avoid capabilities and safe integration of the UAS into the relevant air space.
The Hermes 900 employs the same ground control station, line of sight data link, various sensors and key ground support equipment elements as the Hermes 450. This enables seamless insertion of Hermes 900 into Hermes 450 units with highly cost effective logistics optimization and minimal additional training.
The Hermes 900 system provides rich and versatile multi-payload configurations offering unique cutting edge sensors and systems with flexible and modular installation. The following payloads and sensors are offered to accomplish a wide variety of missions:
• Digital EO/IR/Laser payload – DCoMPASS
• SAR/GMTI & MPR Radar
• SIGINT payloads: Skyfix COMINT/DF; Skyfix-G COMINT GSM system; SKYJAM communication jamming system; AES 210 V/V2 ESM (ELINT) system; additional EW systems
• Stand off EO/IR/Laser system – AMPS
• Electro optic Mapping and Survey/Scanning system – LASSO
• Hyper Spectral Payload
• Wide Area Persistent Stare system
• Additional payloads
• Customer designated payloads
Hermes 900 also offers an advanced satellite communication data link and is operated from Elbit Systems’ universal command & control ground station (UGCS), enabling advanced mission management, highly autonomous and mission effective operation and automatic takeoff and landing capability common to all the UAS in the Hermes family.
THE ADVANTAGES OF USING SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS (SATCOM)
SATCOM is extremely important for a UAS in the Hermes 900’s category as it provides significantly enhanced mission flexibility. Leveraging SATCOM and Hermes 900’s long endurance, the system can perform missions at very long distances from the operating base constituting a “long arm” capability. In addition, the UAS can takeoff from a launch and recovery site in theater and be controlled from a mission station positioned remotely and conveniently in the user’s home facilities thousands of miles away.
Another significant advantage of SATCOM is the ability to fly at very low altitudes, without the limitation of line of sight obstruction caused by topography, as there is no need for line of sight between the UAS and its ground control station. In order to implement this capability, Elbit Systems uses a cutting edge SATCOM system that combines highly advanced technologies, increasing band width efficiency and assuring maximum cost effectiveness for its customers.
Hermes 900 was developed in accordance with STANAG 4671 to the highest standards of safety and airworthiness. To facilitate capabilities to operate in adverse weather an anti-icing system is available as well as sensors such as SAR/GMTI capable of operating in cloud conditions.
The advanced Hermes 900 system architecture separates safety critical flight systems from mission systems providing much greater flexibility and cost/optimization in integration of new, even customer indigenous, payloads. The modular internal payload bay is also an important enabler for easy and modular payload integration and installation.
To meet the very high standard of Hermes UAS safety and reliability, Hermes 900 also features a fully redundant flight avionics and electronics architecture avoiding the loss of control of the UAS due to a single point of failure.
Based on Elbit Systems Electro-Optics Elop’s proprietary technologies, the unique, innovative hyperspectral imaging technology enables simultaneous imaging of the region of interest at different wavelengths. The unique payload is able to track the spectral signature of the imaged materials, which is unique to every material in nature, just like a fingerprint. The innovative hyperspectral technology introduces a new, additional dimension to the world of intelligence gathering by enabling detection and tracking of targets on the basis of their material signature. The new payload enables intelligence gathering via identification, measurement and tracking of materials and objects including uncovering low signature military activity and invisible obstacles, as well as identification of hazardous materials. The airborne hyperspectral system is also complemented by a ground segment that provides automatic interpretation of the images/data and a mission planning system. In its Hermes 900 or Hermes 450 UAS configuration, the new system facilitates remote sensing and monitoring capabilities for various scenarios.
HERMES 900 – A CAPABLE AND COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTION FOR A VARIETY OF MALE UAS MISSIONS
Hermes 900 is an ideal solution for any type of persistent ISR, area dominance, ground support, and maritime patrol mission. Designed for minimal maintenance, Hermes 900 is not only a highly mission effective system but also a system with lower life cycle costs. Hermes 900 broadens the Elbit Systems’ UAS portfolio, which now offers its customers a variety of mission capabilities, from mini-UAS, through tactical UAS, and up to higher chains of command for ground, naval and air forces. The operational experience accumulated by the Hermes systems for the Israeli Defense Forces and other leading armies worldwide, as well as the ongoing improvements based on its operational track record, have maintained this UAS family’s leadership in performance, reliability, variety of mission-oriented payloads and more.
UNIVERSAL GROUND CONTROL STATIONS (UGCS)
Capable of controlling multiple types of UAS, our UGCS incorporate functionality derived from decades of UAS operations in Israel and support all mission phases from mission planning and preflight checks, through mission execution, debrief and training. Elbit Systems’ UGCS is especially designed for maximal flexibility in incorporating various payload types, data links and even other types of UAS. The UGCS is capable of concurrently controlling two parallel UAS missions using two Ground Data Terminals (GDTs). Each basic mission is fully controlled by a single operator. Hermes ground control station’s operation is highly autonomous and implements an advanced, proven, and ergonomic Human Machine Interface design. The high level of system autonomy enables the operator to focus on mission execution rather than on flying the air vehicle. For example, the same operator can control both the air vehicle and the EO/IR/Laser payload including slaving the air vehicle to the payload (“fly-by-camera”).
The UGCS is capable of disseminating data and video via WAN to remote HQ and/or other networked entities and can be integrated into the customer’s C4I infrastructure. Supporting maritime patrol applications is an embedded maritime command and control capability.
UAS INTELLIGENCE MANAGEMENT CENTER (IMC)
The IMC is made available by Elbit Systems to augment the UAS and provide an important force multiplier. Using the IMC it is possible to conduct coordinated missions of multiple UAS and other means controlled by multiple ground stations, all managed by a common management center. The UAS management center’s forte is its ability to provide commanders with data received by all deployed platforms and sensors. The mission commander is provided with an overall view, received from various intelligence gathering sensors, displaying aerial platform mission assignments and the combined tactical picture. The IMC allows rapid intelligence flow for improved overall mission efficiency. Mission instructions are sent by the commander directly to the UAS operators in the GCS and video intelligence is displayed simultaneously on the mission station screens and at the management center, in both two and three-dimensions. All data received from the UAS can be transmitted to the external ground forces’ C4I systems.