By XUE JIANYUE
SINGAPORE — The Hermes 450 (H-450) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), delivered to Singapore in 2007, is now fully operational after years of intensive training in the Air Force to operate and maintain the aircraft, announced the Defence Ministry today (March 30).
The H-450 will complement the older Searcher UAV which was introduced earlier in 1998. Together, they help protect Singapore by providing battlefield surveillance from the sky.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the full operational capability of the H-450, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said MINDEF had made significant investments in the research and development of UAV systems over the years.
“The achievement of Full Operational Capability for the Hermes 450 UAV today is another significant milestone in the SAF’s transformation into a modern and effective fighting force,” he said at the ceremony at Murai Camp, attended by top brass from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
The H-450 will be operated by 116 Squadron at Murai Camp in west Singapore.
Since 2007, UAV pilots, air force engineers and maintenance crew have undergone intensive training to operate and maintain the unmanned aircraft, as well as to integrate it with SAF operations.
Compared to the older Searcher UAV, the H-450 will be able to fly faster, higher and at higher altitudes.
It has a cruising speed of 70 knots, a maximum altitude of 16,000 feet, and can stay more than 14 hours in the air.
In contrast, the Searcher UAV’s will only be able to cruise at a speed of 65 knots, reach up to 15,000 feet and last 8 hours in the air.
The H-450 requires only two personnel to operate, in contrast to three for the Searcher UAV, resulting in manpower savings.