First Batch of Israeli Hermes 900 Delivered to Switzerland

Photo Hermes 900 UAV photo by Elbit System
כטב"ם ההרמס-900 (צילום: אלביט מערכות)

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Another milestone in the supply of Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Switzerland. The first two of six Elbit Systems Hermes 900 Heavy Fuel Engine (HFE) UAVs have been received from Israel.

The Swiss Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection, and Sport (VBS) announced the milestone on 29 April, noting that the two UAVs (dubbed ADS 15 in this country) and two ground control stations (GCSs) arrived in two deliveries, reported.

“The [UAVs and GCSs] were transported from Israel to Switzerland by sea and land. Another component of the deliveries was various materials for the maintenance and the subassemblies, which are necessary for the operation of the ADS 15,“ the VBS said.

The first UAVs have already been assembled and they will undergo a functional check before the first flight tests in mid-May. They will then be handed over to the air force in the second half of the year. Four more UAVs will be delivered by the end of 2023.

The total cost of the six drones is around CHF250 million (around $256 million at the time) and they are expected to be operational for 20 years, according to

Hermes 900 features over-the-horizon, persistent multi-mission, multi-payload capabilities with a class-leading payload carrying capacity of 350 kg. Hermes 900 is capable of performing missions for area dominance and persistent ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance).

In Switzerland the six drones will be used, among other things, to monitor borders, search for missing persons in the mountains or assess a situation after a natural disaster.

Switzerland currently has no more reconnaissance drones. The Ranger ADS 95 was decommissioned in November 2019 after 20 years of use. The border guards currently use helicopters.