Elbit Systems' Hermes 900 maritime patrol drone has been equipped with an inflatable life-saver raft besides detection and identification capabilities as part of a new search and rescue (SAR) package.
The Israeli company delivered Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to an undisclosed South-East Asian customer recently. "Integrating detection and identification capabilities, onboard inflated life-rafts, and precision dispatch capability, enables the UAS to perform long-range maritime Search and Rescue (SaR) missions," the company said in a statement Thursday.
Adverse weather conditions and short endurance significantly degrades the SaR capabilities of manned aircraft, often preventing them from executing their missions. Capable of more than 24 hours of continuous flight, the Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol can operate in adverse weather conditions in both day and night.
Equipped with the new SaR capability the UAS can increase the number of SaR missions.
The Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol can carry up to four, six-person life-rafts that are integrated on its wings. Using an onboard maritime radar the UAS detects survivor situations. Upon detection the UAS' Electro-Optic/Infra-Red (EO/IR) payload is deployed to provide visual identification, and a rapid calculation of the drop-point is performed, enabling the UAS to dispatch life rafts from a low-altitude of 600ft to a pin-pointed location at a safe distance from the survivors. A gradual inflation process of the life-rafts is initiated after dispatch and is completed upon landing.