Science&Tech Two Hermes 900 drones entered air force service Posted on February 9, 2023 2 min read Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ After about nine months of ground and flight tests, the Swiss Federal Office of Defense (armasuisse) handed over the first two of six Elbit Hermes 900 HFE (Heavy Fuel engine) reconnaissance drones ordered in 2014 to the Swiss air force in January 2023. The aircraft was approved by the military aviation authority MAA in December 2022. The Swiss Air Force conducted the first seventy-minute test flight with D-14, one of two Hermes 900 UAVs delivered by Elbit Sytems in April 2022, on June 20, 2022. During this flight, a speed of 180 km/h was recorded at an altitude of 2,000 m. Both aircraft (D-11 and D-14) would then be deployed with associated ground stations from Swiss Air Base Emmen as so-called Aufklärungsdrohnensystems 15 (ADS 15). A third (the D-16) has been with the armaments authority for further tests since October 2022. The remaining three copies will be delivered to Switzerland in the course of 2023. Once operational, the Hermes 900s will carry out tasks including military surveillance, search and rescue, border surveillance and support for civilian services such as the police. According to Elbit, a Hermes 900 can patrol for 36 hours at a flight altitude of over nine kilometers. The device can carry a load of 350 kg, including an electro-optical/infrared sensor.