Elbit Systems has started operating the maritime UAS patrol service available to countries in the EU under its contract between the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the Portuguese company CEiiA.
Announced last year, the contract involves Elbit Systems leasing a Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol system and its ground control station to EMSA and operating it on its behalf under a contractor-owned, contractoroperated arrangement. The Hermes 900 system will provide persistent long-range, long-endurance maritime patrol capabilities to EMSA as part of the agency’s tasks monitoring maritime pollution and emissions, detecting illegal fishing, combating drug trafficking and illegal immigration and supporting search and rescue operations.
Iceland is the first EU country to use this particular long-range UAS patrol service, with the Hermes 900 based at Egilsstaðir in the east of the island, from where the maritime environment for more than half of the Icelandic Exclusive Economic Zone can be monitored.
The Hermes 900 Maritime Patrol variant is tailored for littoral and ‘blue-water’ operations, featuring maritime radar, an electro-optical payload, satellite communication, an automatic identification system receiver and an emergency position-indicating radio beacon receiver. The Hermes 900 in use for the EMSA contract is, Elbit said, “adapted to withstand the strong winds and icy conditions common to the North Atlantic Ocean”. Mark Broadbent