Elbit Hermes 900

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Hermes 900
Elbit Systems 900 take off.jpg
Elbit Hermes 900 takeoff
Role Unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance aerial vehicle
National origin Israel
Manufacturer Elbit Systems
First flight December 9, 2009[1]
Introduction 2012[2]
Status In service
Primary user Israeli Air Force
Developed from Elbit Hermes 450

The Elbit Systems Hermes 900 Kochav ("Star")[3] is an Israeli medium-size, multi-payload, medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for tactical missions. It is a successor to the Hermes 450 series of drones, one of the most widely used military drones in the world.

It has an endurance of over 30 hours and can fly at a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet (9,100 m), with a primary mission of reconnaissance, surveillance and communications relay. The Hermes 900 has a wingspan of 15 m (49 ft) and weighs 970 kg (2,140 lb), with a payload capability of 300 kg (660 lb).[4] Payload options include electro-optical/infrared sensors, synthetic-aperture radar/ground-moving target indication, communications and electronic intelligence, electronic warfare, and hyperspectral sensors.[5]

Operational history[edit]


The Hermes 900 was first used by Israel during Operation Protective Edge in July 2014. It had been undergoing test flights and wasn't planned for operational deployment until late 2015, but it was introduced during the operation for unique missions that it could perform better than the Hermes 450. A few days after receiving orders to deploy the aircraft, one Kochav was readied for "temporary activity." The Hermes 900's first operational mission took place on July 15, 2014, which was a link in a chain of operations that eventually led to a fighter jet attack that destroyed terrorist infrastructure. Maintenance on the aircraft during the operation was done by Elbit personnel because IAF ground teams had not yet been qualified to perform maintenance on it, and mission stations had Elbit representatives that guided the operators during combat flights. Following the end of the operation, the Hermes 900 returned to integration and flight testing to pass milestones that still needed to be met.[6][7] The Hermes 900 was officially introduced into the IAF's operational lineup on 11 November 2015.[8]


Azerbaijani media first mentioned the procurement of the Hermes 900 in August 2017, reporting up to 15 units having been purchased. In May 2018, the Azerbaijani government confirmed the purchase, releasing photos of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev inspecting one of the drones.[9]

During the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani skirmishes, Armenia's Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan reported that Armenian forces had shot down an Azerbaijani Hermes 900 drone, sharing the video of the alleged shoot down on social media.[10][11] The Azerbaijani side denied losing any of its drones.[12]


Azerbaijani media reported in August 2017 that Azerbaijan has procured as many as 2 Hermes 900. In May 2018, Azerbaijani president visited a military base to inspect military equipment, released photos from the visit included one Hermes 900.[13]
Elbit Systems has been awarded a contract to supply a Hermes 900 unmanned air system to the Brazilian air force.[14] In December 2021, the Brazilian Air Force acquires two more remotely piloted Hermes 900 aircraft.[15]
The Government of Canada announced its award of a contract to Elbit Systems for the procurement of a single Hermes 900 in late 2022 for use by Transport Canada in oil spill detection, environmental surveys, and monitoring Canada's Arctic.[16]
In July 2011, Elbit reported the first export sale of its Hermes 900 UAV to the Chilean Air Force. The Chilean choice followed evaluation of two classes of UAVs. At the high end were the Elbit Hermes 900 and IAI Heron. At the lower (tactical) level were Elbit Hermes 450, and Aerostar from Aeronautics Defense Systems.[17] Three Hermes 900 UAVs are operated by the Chilean Air Force. On October 2013, the Chilean Navy began evaluating the Hermes 900 for procurement for maritime patrol tasks.[18]
Elbit Hermes 900 UAV
In August 2012, Elbit won a multi-million-dollar contract to supply a mixed fleet of Hermes 900 and Hermes 450 unmanned air systems to Colombia.[19] On July 2013, the Colombian Air Force confirmed they have one Hermes 900 on order, to be accepted in the coming months.[20]
In September 2018, the Portuguese company Centro de Engenharia e Desenvolvimento was contracted to the European Maritime Safety Agency to provide long-range, long-endurance maritime surveillance services using the Hermes 900.[21][22]
Iceland uses Hermes 900 UAV to monitor its exclusive economic zone.[23]
The Israeli air force has equipped its Elbit Systems Hermes 900 unmanned air vehicles with undisclosed specialist payloads, and formally named the type "Kochav" (Star).[24] The UAV made its first operational flight during "Protective Edge" operation in Gaza on July 2014.[25]
In January 2012, Elbit announced it has been awarded a $50 million contract to supply two Hermes 900 systems to an undisclosed customer "in the Americas",[26][27] later revealed to be the Mexican Federal Police.[28][29]
In August 2020, Philippine Air Force received full delivery of three Hermes 900 and one Hermes 450 unmanned aerial systems (UAS) as part of a contract worth approximately $175 million. Each system consists of three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), a ground control system and support equipment. Elbit Systems also included a spare used Hermes 450 UAV as part of the deal, for a total of 9 Hermes 900 UAVs and 4 Hermes 450 UAVs.[30]
In June 2014, Switzerland's procurement agency selected the Hermes 900 to meet the nation's requirement. The design had been in competition with IAI Heron to replace the RUAG Ranger UAV (ADS 95) of the Swiss Air Force. Planned was to replace the 15 Ruag Rangers with Six Hermes 900 (ADS 15) by 2019.[31][32] To fulfill the Swiss requirements, extensive changes at the drone where necessary. Among others it was necessary to change wing and wingspan to carry a heavier engine with more power.[33] In August 2020, a drone crashed during a test flight in Israel, the cause was a structural design flaw which has been fixed.[34] The new drones should now begin their operation between 2022 and 2023, the "Sense-and-Avoid" - System not before 2024.[35] The Swiss model of the drone is called Hermes 900 StarLiner, also Hermes 900 HFE (Heavy Fuel Engine) in the Swiss program.[36]


Elbit Hermes 900 UAV

Data from Defense Update[37] Elbit Systems Australia[38]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2 on ground
  • Capacity: 350 kg (770 lb) payload
  • Length: 8.3 m (27 ft 3 in)
  • Wingspan: 15 m (49 ft 3 in)
  • Gross weight: 1,100 kg (2,425 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 914, 86 kW (115 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 220 km/h (140 mph, 120 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 112 km/h (70 mph, 60 kn)
  • Endurance: 36 hours
  • Service ceiling: 9,100 m (30,000 ft)


  1. ^ "Hermes 900 First Flight". Archived from the original on 2017-09-06. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
  2. ^ "Elbit Hermes 900 (Kochav) Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) - Israel".
  3. ^ A Star Is Born: A Name Is Chosen For the "Hermes 900" UAV - IAF.org.il, 20 March 2014
  4. ^ Nissan, Yosi (2010-02-05). חוזה לאלביט מערכות עם משרד הביטחון בהיקף 50 מיליון דולר (in Hebrew). Globes. Archived from the original on 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  5. ^ Israel Hermes 900 training nears completion - Flightglobal.com, 21 September 2015
  6. ^ Israeli Forces Praise Elbit UAVs in Gaza Op - Defensenews.com, 12 August 2014
  7. ^ The IAF's new UAV: The "Hermes 900" is operational once again - IAF.org.il, 10 November 2015
  8. ^ New Israel Air Force Drone’s Star Set to Rise - Algemeiner.com, 11 November 2015
  9. ^ "Azerbaijan shows Hermes 900 Military drone". horizonweekly.ca. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 2020-07-14.
  10. ^ Post, Massis (15 July 2020). "Armenia Shoots Down Israeli Made Hermes-900 Sophisticated Drone".
  11. ^ Stepanyan, Shushan (14 July 2020). "Ադրբեջանական "Elbit Hermes 900" ԱԹՍ-ի խոցումը". Facebook. Archived from the original on 14 July 2020. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  12. ^ Öztürk, Alparslan (13 July 2020). "MN: Azərbaycana məxsus PUA-nın vurulması barədə məlumat yalandır". Report İnformasiya Agentliyi (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  13. ^ Jennings, Gareth (30 April 2018). "Azerbaijan shows Hermes 900". IHS Jane's 360. London. Archived from the original on 3 May 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Brazil to boost World Cup security with unmanned Hermes 900". 26 March 2014.
  15. ^ "FAB adquire mais duas aeronaves remotamente pilotadas Hermes 900".
  16. ^ "Contract awarded to acquire a remotely piloted aircraft system for Transport Canada". 21 December 2020.
  17. ^ "Ares". www.aviationweek.com.
  18. ^ Chilean navy considers Hermes 900 deal - Flightglobal.com, 7 October 2013
  19. ^ "Elbit Systems sells Hermes UAVs to Colombia". 6 August 2012.
  20. ^ La Fuerza Aérea de Colombia confirma finalmente la recepción de los UAVs Hermes 900 y 450 de Elbit Systems - Infodefensa.com, 24 July 2013
  21. ^ Broadbent, Mark (January 2019). "Coastal UAV selections". Air International. Vol. 96, no. 1. p. 32. ISSN 0306-5634.
  22. ^ "EMSA contracts additional RPAS for maritime surveillance, emissions monitoring and pollution response" (Press release). European Maritime Safety Agency. 29 November 2018. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  23. ^ "Iceland Uses Hermes 900 UAV to Monitor its EEZ". Israel Defense. 30 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Hermes 900 stars for Israel". 25 March 2014.
  25. ^ "The Israeli Air Force : A "Star" In the Sky". www.iaf.org.il.
  26. ^ "Elbit's Hermes 900 wins new export deal". 3 January 2012.
  27. ^ Defense News[dead link]
  28. ^ McLeary, Paul (March 13, 2012). "Elbit's Mystery Sale to Latin America". Aviation Week. Archived from the original on 2010-03-21. Retrieved 2012-03-21.
  29. ^ Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico - Mexico. Clave de Cartera: 1136C000004; numero de solicitud: 33955; Nombre: "Adquisición de aviones no tripulados, segmento de tierra y cargas útiles adicionales para la Policía Federal."
  30. ^ "Philippine Air Force receives full delivery of Hermes 900, Hermes 450 UAVs: report". Israel Defense. 10 September 2020.
  31. ^ "Switzerland selects Hermes 900 as Ranger replacement". 5 June 2014.
  32. ^ ADS 15 - Aufklärungsdrohnensysteme 15 Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ NZZ (September 4, 2016). "Wirbel um Armee-Drohnen". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German).
  34. ^ swissinfo.ch (May 11, 2021). "Swiss army drone crash due to design flaw".
  35. ^ Bote der Urschweiz (May 11, 2021). "Drohne der Armee wegen "unerwartet starken Schwingungen" abgestürzt" (in German).
  36. ^ elbitsystems.com: StarLiner
  37. ^ "First Flight of the Elbit Systems Hermes 900 UAV". Defense Update. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  38. ^ "Hermes 900 – Multi-role, Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE)". Elbit Systems Australia. Archived from the original on 2017-04-04.

External links[edit]