Thailand has signed a contract to buy Israeli-made Hermes 900 drones.
In 2017, the Thai army purchased Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450 drones, the previous model to the Hermes 900.
The Hermes-900 is Elbit Systems’ next-generation multi-role medium altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial system (UAS), with a flight altitude of more than 30,000 ft and flight capabilities in all weather conditions.
The Hermes 900 has a wingspan of 15 m, is 8.3 m long and has a max takeoff weight of 1,100 kg and a maximum payload weight of 300 kg.
Based on Elbit’s Hermes 450 UAS with over 300,000 operational flight hours, the Hermes 900 is used for both ground support and maritime patrol missions, as well as for integrated multi-platform, multi-sensor operations.
It has double the power and capabilities of the Hermes-450 and is able to carry a wide range of intelligence-gathering payloads and is capable of performing missions for area dominance, persistent surveillance, target acquisition and intelligence gathering.
The navy did not say in its statement how many drones it would buy, but said a budget had been set to procure the system over four years, between 2022 to 2025.
The Thai navy said the drones would be used to patrol the sea to protect the country’s maritime sovereignty and shipping routes, and assist in sea rescue operations.
Israel is a leading exporter of drones
Israel is considered a leading exporter of drones, with Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit selling UAVs to dozens of countries, including Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Mexico and Singapore.
The drone system is used in many countries, including the Philippines, Switzerland, the European Union and Canada.