Private Israeli defense company Elbit is surpassing government operated Israel Aerospace Industries.
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Israel’s Elbit Systems (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) announced today that it was selected by the Swiss Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), as the preferred supplier for the UAS 15 new reconnaissance drone program. In doing so it beat out state-run rival Israel Aerospace Industries for the $276 million contract.
According to the plans of the Swiss government, the ADS 95 Ranger reconnaissance drone system, which the Swiss Armed Forces have been operating since 2001 and will soon reach the end of its life cycle, will be replaced by 2020.
The new unmanned aerial vehicle model chosen is Elbit’s Hermes 900 HFE, an unarmed reconnaissance drone system selected over its competitor the Super Heron built by Israel Aerospace Industries. The Hermes 900 HFE was favored because it delivered the best overall result in all assessed criteria.
The Hermes 900 HFE system is an all-weather unarmed reconnaissance drone system that is more flexible, has longer endurance in the air and a wider operational range than the drones currently used by the Swiss.
This is a newly revealed configuration of the Hermes 900, which comes with a Heavy Fuel Engine.
Currently, combat drones are not an option for the DDPS. The decision to procure the new reconnaissance drone system (ADS 15), will be submitted for approval to the Swiss Parliament as part of Switzerland’s 2015 armaments program.
The competition was narrowed to just Elbit and IAI in 2012.
The good news for Elbit comes just days after it announced plans to present its SOLTAM SPEAR Mobile, Fully Autonomous Soft Recoil Mortar System for the first time at the upcoming Eurosatory 2014.
Elbit Systems Ltd. is an international defense electronics company engaged in a wide range of programs throughout the world. The Company, which includes Elbit Systems and its subsidiaries, operates in the areas of aerospace, land and naval systems, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (“C4ISR”), unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”), advanced electro-optics, electro-optic space systems, EW suites, signal intelligence (“SIGINT”) systems, data links and communications systems and radios. The Company also focuses on the upgrading of existing military platforms, developing new technologies for defense, homeland security and commercial aviation applications and providing a range of support services, including training and simulation systems.
The company was founded in 1966 and currently has about 12, 000 employees. It has subsidiaries in Europe, the United States and South America.