Warplanes: Hermes 450 Gets Heft

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November 22, 2007: Israel is upgrading its Hermes 450 UAV with a new engine, that will increase endurance from 20 to 30 hours. The two million dollar Hermes 450 has been in service for five years, and over two dozen are in Israeli service. The older ones will receive the new engine as well.

The Hermes 450 is a 992 pound aircraft. Some of the Israeli ones carry Hellfire missiles. This UAV is already designed to carry two extra fuel tanks under its wings. Each of these fuel tanks weighs more than the 110 pound Hellfire. Total payload for the 450 is about 330 pounds. It is 20 feet long, with a 35 foot wingspan. It fly as high as 20,000 feet. The Hermes 450 is the primary UAV for the Israeli armed forces, and they were heavily used (over twenty in action each day) during last years war in Lebanon, for a total of some 14,000 hours in the air. The Hermes 450 can operate about 200 kilometers from its ground station. The Hermes 450 has been exported to several other nations, including the United States (where the border patrol uses it).

Half ton UAVs are something of a "sweet spot" in the UAV market. They are small, and cheap, enough for a lot of non-military organizations (police, border and coast guards), and powerful enough (thanks to ever cheaper, lighter and more powerful sensors) to get the job done.

 


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