Drone provider Elbit Systems recently completed several search and rescue UAS demos for the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency over Wales, testing long-range flights in civilian airspace.
Elbit’s Hermes 900 fixed-wing drone flew several BVLOS missions over uncontrolled airspace along routes approved by the UK Civil Aviation Authority. The company equipped the Hermes with search-and-rescue specific radar, an Automatic Identification System (AIS), EO/IR payload, an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and full satellite communications to simulate shoreline, water and long-distance ship rescues across international airspace lines.
Weighing in at 1.2 tons, the Hermes 900 sports a 15m wingspan; the craft has already been deployed with more than a dozen global customers providing search, rescue and reconnaissance capabilities. Elbit recently released a model configured with inflated life-rafts designed for detection, identification and rescue of survivors of maritime accidents.
“The Hermes 900 is perfectly equipped to deal with the needs of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and we are proud to be able to support them as they continue with their vital, life-saving work,” Elbit Systems UK CEO Martin Fausset said.
“We continue to do all we can to use existing technology as well as look to the future in our ongoing work of saving lives at sea,” Director of HM Coastguard Claire Hughes said.
“Remotely piloted aircraft continue to be a big part of that work both to potentially save lives in search and rescue and protect our beautiful coastlines from the worst effects of pollution.”
Elbit Systems UK Ltd owns four subsidiaries as well as two joint ventures, employing more than 500 in defense, aerospace and rail sectors. The consortium works with the British Army’s Watchkeeper program to supply and support three aircraft fleets within the UK MOD Military Flying Training System (UKMFTS) program.
Search-and-rescue drones continue to prove their worth in rescue operations worldwide. In June, U.S. Border Patrol agents used a drone to locate three women reported missing amid a heat wave. The agency deployed a search drone team and, within 45 minutes, found the women, treating them for dehydration. In April, North Dakota police helped find a missing child using top-rated drone firm SkySkopes.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.