Israel’s Elbit Systems will supply Hermes 900 HFE (heavy fuel engine) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to the Swiss Air Force, under a $200m contract.

The Hermes 900 HFE will be delivered over a four-year period, under the contract awarded by the Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS).

The Swiss Air Force will replace its ADS 95 Ranger reconnaissance drone system with Hermes 900 HFE as part of the 2015 arms procurement programme.

Operational since 2001, the ADS 95 Ranger will be retired by 2020.

The DPPS selected Elbit as the preferred supplier in June 2014, over its competitor Israel Aerospace Industries, which offered Super Heron.

DDPS previously said: "The Hermes 900 HFE has been favoured because it delivered a better total score.

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"In the pre-evaluation, these two UAV systems were the best in meeting the requirements."

"In the pre-evaluation, these two UAV systems were the best in meeting the requirements."

The Hermes 900 HFE is an all-weather reconnaissance drone system that is said to be more flexible, has longer endurance in the air and a wider operational range than the system currently in use with the Swiss Air Force.

The system includes an advanced ground segment for command, control and communications.

Elbit Systems president and CEO Bezhalel Machlis: "Switzerland is a very important market for Elbit Systems, and we are very proud of the DDPS’ decision to choose us as the supplier of the Hermes 900 HFE, a high-end and market leading platform.

"We hope this project will pave the way for additional projects both in Switzerland and worldwide".

Image: The Hermes 900. Photo: courtesy of Tal Inbar.