Elbit Hermes 900

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Hermes 900
Elbit Hermes 900s.JPG
Role Unmanned aerial vehicle
National origin Israel
Manufacturer Elbit Systems
Designer 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 sequel 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]


Map with Elbit Hermes 900 operators in blue
Azerbaijani media reported in August 2017 that Azerbaijan has procured as many as 15 Hermes 900. In May 2018, Azerbaijani president visited a military base to inspect military equipment, released photos from the visit included one Hermes 900.[9]
Elbit Systems has been awarded a contract to supply a Hermes 900 unmanned air system to the Brazilian air force.[10]
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.[11] Three Hermes 900 UAVs are operated by the Chilean Air Force. In October 2013, the Chilean Navy began evaluating the Hermes 900 for procurement for maritime patrol tasks.[12]
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.[13] In July 2013, the Colombian Air Force confirmed they have one Hermes 900 on order, to be accepted in the coming months.[14]
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.[15][16]
Iceland uses Hermes 900 UAV to monitor its exclusive economic zone.[17]
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).[18] The UAV made its first operational flight during "Protective Edge" operation in Gaza in July 2014.[19]
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",[20][21] later revealed to be the Mexican Federal Police.[22][23]
MaxDefense Philippines and Israel Defense reported that aside from the four Hermes 450 UAVs, the Philippine Air Force is also set to acquire ten Hermes 900 UAVs, as well as ground control systems, support equipment, mission payload, and Integrated Logistics System (ILS) including training, technical support, and other requirements, as part of Horizon 2 of its modernization program, with delivery expected by 2020. As of November 2019, flight testing of airframes Tail No. 9001 and 9002 are being conducted in-country.[24][25][26]
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) currently in service with the Swiss Air Force. Six Hermes 900 (ADS 15) will replace the 15 Ruag Rangers by 2019.[27][28].


Elbit Hermes 900 UAV

Data from Defense Update[29]

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. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "Brazil to boost World Cup security with unmanned Hermes 900". 26 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Ares". www.aviationweek.com.
  12. ^ Chilean navy considers Hermes 900 deal - Flightglobal.com, 7 October 2013
  13. ^ "Elbit Systems sells Hermes UAVs to Colombia". 6 August 2012.
  14. ^ La Fuerza Aérea de Colombia confirma finalmente la recepción de los UAVs Hermes 900 y 450 de Elbit Systems - Infodefensa.com, 24 July 2013
  15. ^ Broadbent, Mark (January 2019). "Coastal UAV selections". Air International. Vol. 96 no. 1. p. 32. ISSN 0306-5634.
  16. ^ "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.
  17. ^ https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/38742
  18. ^ "Hermes 900 stars for Israel". 25 March 2014.
  19. ^ "The Israeli Air Force : A "Star" In the Sky". www.iaf.org.il.
  20. ^ "Elbit's Hermes 900 wins new export deal". 3 January 2012.
  21. ^ http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=8733179&c=MID&s=TOP[dead link]
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ 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."
  24. ^ http://maxdefense.blogspot.com/2017/08/philippine-air-force-to-procure-elbits.html
  25. ^ https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/35400
  26. ^ https://maxdefense.blogspot.com/p/the-elbit-hermes-900.html
  27. ^ "Switzerland selects Hermes 900 as Ranger replacement". 5 June 2014.
  28. ^ ADS 15 - Aufklärungsdrohnensysteme 15 Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "First Flight of the Elbit Systems Hermes 900 UAV". Defense Update. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2018.

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