> our title:

Israeli AF to Expand Hermes 900 UAV Fleet, Operations

> original title:

Next Year: Six Times More “Kochav” UAVs

(Source: Israeli Air Force; issued Dec 19, 2016)

The UAV Squadron that operates the "Kochav" (Hermes 900) UAV will multiply the number of Hermes 900 UAVs that it operates by six during the coming year. "The ‘Kochav' will revolutionize the world of UAVs", stated Lt. Col. Daniel, the Squadron Commander. "The platform is a base for many operational technological abilities that will be integrated and immigrate from manned to unmanned platforms".

On July 15, 2014, during operation "Protective Edge" over the Gaza strip, the UAV took off for its first operational mission in the IAF. Its mission was part of a process that ended with an airstrike that destroyed terror infrastructure. The "Kochav" gathered hundreds of flight hours throughout the campaign and performed its mission more than 100 times with an extremely high success rate.

Expanding the IAF's Performance

Following operation "Protective Edge", the "Kochav" was officially integrated in the IAF and since then the squadron has grown steadily. "We are widely occupied with the technological capabilities of UAVs", shared Lt. Col. Daniel. "We are proceeding steadily and we recently broke the aircraft's endurance record and reached a number of hours that even the manufacturer couldn't reach".

Clearly, most of the interesting details regarding the aircraft are classified. But we can say that it consists of a technological quantum leap that provides the IAF with new capabilities and allows it to operate in very long ranges. The "Kochav" has a capacity of a 350 kg and is designed to be able to carry a number of payloads on a number of hardpoints under its wings. Its endurance abilities allow it to perform very lengthy, long range missions during a single sortie.

"The integration of new abilities that expand the IAF's performance is another milestone in the aerial force's strengthening and renewal process", said Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, IAF Commander, in the "Kochav" integration ceremony a year ago. "The UAV division is developing quality and quantity wise and is taking a central position in most of the IAF's missions".