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Israel HERMES 900 UAV spotted flying in PH Airspace

                                Photo By: PinoyAviators

The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) had been confirmed that the Philippines and Israel have been making inroads in the defense realm over the past few years, including through several procurement deals. Over the years, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have placed orders for a range of equipment, including missile systems and radars, from several Israeli firms.

Elbit itself won its first contract in the Philippines for the supply of upgrading armored personnel carriers in the Philippine military back in June 2014. The upgrade included 25mm unmanned turrets, 12.7 mm remote controlled weapon stations (RCWS) and fire control system (FCS) for 90 mm turrets.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has completed receiving towed howitzers from Israel. The ongoing transaction is the outcome of a deal believed to be reached back in 2015 with Elbit Systems for PHP 438.62 million that includes 240 155-mm high explosive shells and integrated logistics support.

On 02 June 2017, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he was willing to "spend double the money" on modern weapons systems as long as they were new and that he would look at buying equipment such as planes, boats, guns and drones.

We have no confirmation yet from the Department of National Defense if the Philippines will close the deal for the Elbit Systems Hermes 900 MALE UAV.

The Elbit Systems Hermes 900 is an Israeli medium size multi-payload unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for medium altitude long endurance (MALE) tactical missions. 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). Payload options include electro-optical/infrared sensors, synthetic aperture radar/ground-moving target indication, communications and electronic intelligence, electronic warfare, and hyperspectral sensors.

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."

References: Elbit Systems, Hermes 900 First Flight, Hermes 900 Brochure, Department of National Defense.

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