The Hermes 450 is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of Israeli origin and is part of Hermes' growing family of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), including the Hermes 90 to the Hermes 1500. It belongs to the Elbit Systems brand and is designed for long-range tactical missions. The Hermes 450 is primarily used by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) as a reconnaissance, communications and surveillance platform, but armed versions are believed to be in service.
Several countries with growing interest in demonstrating drones have evaluated, leased or purchased Hermes 450 systems, including the US, UK, Singapore and Brazil.
The Hermes 450 is operated by the companion Hermes Universal Ground Control System (UGCS), giving the crew full control of all integrated Hermes 450 systems. This enables the crew to interpret all incoming imagery and data in real-time and react accordingly, often in combination with other ground elements. Hermes has evolved into a proven and versatile defense package that adapts to mission requirements.
It has a gimbaled electro-optical payload to accommodate reconnaissance and surveillance equipment when needed. Elbit says their Hermes 450 has accumulated approximately 65,000 flight hours in its short history and has been actively used in multiple combat environments.
Georgia has Hermes 450 actively stationed over the disputed region of Abkhazia. Some countries (including Russia) recognize the breakaway Republic of Abkhazia as an autonomous state, while others (including the United States) consider it part of Georgia.
It borders the Black Sea and is of strategic value in the region. However, between March 2008 and May 2008, at least 3 (possibly as many as 7) Georgian Air Force Hermes 450 systems were shot down (by Russian or Abkhazian forces).
The overflight was seen as a direct violation of the 1994 Armistice and Separation of Armed Forces Agreement (also known as the 1994 Moscow Agreement) signed by the two sides and witnessed by the United States and Russia.
The UK operates Hermes 450 drones as part of the Royal British Army Artillery Regiment (32nd Royal Artillery). The system has been actively involved with the UK during the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
However, the British variant does not envision a weapon, but uses an integrated laser gyroscope for inertial navigation. The planned upgrade for the Hermes 450 under the project name "Watchkeeper" aims to replace the old 450 series with an improved "Hermes 450 B" model (known as "WK450" in UK stock). ). This newer Hermes is said to feature all-weather capability and a harshly reinforced structure for active battlefield environments, as well as a Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) and dual optoelectronic payloads.
The exchange is planned to begin sometime in 2010.
The US has tested the Hermes 450 system for the US Border Patrol and the US Department of Defense.
- Ground Attack
20.01 ft (6.1 m)
109 mph (176 km/h; 95 knots)
17,999 ft (5,486 m; 3.41 mi)
124 miles (200 km; 108 nmi)
900 ft/min (274 m/min)
No. Although if armed there may be 2 x Hellfire anti-tank missiles.
Hermes 450 - Base Series Designation; reconnaissance, surveillance and tactical long endurance variant.
Hermes 450 B - British "Watchkeeper" program baseline model.
"Watchkeeper" WK450 - British designation of Hermes 450 B production model.
Hermes 900 - Medium Altitude, Long Endurance Variant; assault capabilities.