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Israel Certifies Unmanned Aircraft System for Integration in Civilian Airspace

The Israeli Civil Aviation Authority (CAAI) has achieved a world first in certifying an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) for civil aviation, approving it to fly in civilian airspace like any other civilian aircraft and not restricting its flight to unsegregated airspace.

The receipt of the Type Certificate from the CAAI completes the compliance of Elbit Systems’ Hermes Starliner UAS with the NATO standardization for approving UAS for integration in civilian unsegregated airspace.

This is an additional part of the Israeli Ministry of Transport and Road Safety’s policy to adapt land and aerial transport regulations, responding to the challenges and opportunities enabled by technological developments in Israel and around the world. The Civil Aviation Authority of the State of Israel operates under the Israeli Ministry of Transport and Road Safety.

The approval granted to a UAS to fly above populated areas and in any civilian airspace enables governments as well as international and commercial organizations to incorporate large, long-endurance unmanned aircraft in missions that until now were only performed by manned aircraft. The Hermes Starliner UAS, a derivative of the technologically mature Hermes 900 UAS, will be able to participate in border security and anti-terror operations; take part in securing mass public events; perform maritime search and rescue; perform commercial aviation and environmental inspection missions, as well as precision agriculture work.

For safety reasons, international aviation regulations have prohibited uncertified aircraft from flying in civilian airspace, limiting the operation of UAS’ to unsegregated airspace, until now. CAAI has supervised the design and manufacturing of the Hermes Starliner UAS and led a rigorous six-year certification process that included extensive ground and flight tests. The tests were conducted in compliance with air navigation rules, airworthiness basis and aviation standards regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Elbit Systems integrated advanced civil aviation technological capabilities aboard the Hermes Starliner UAS to meet certification standards. These technologies include a terrain avoidance warning system; automatic take-off and landing in harsh visibility; redundant avionics, sensors and satellite data links; as well as adverse weather capabilities and direct lightning strike sustainment.

The Hermes Starliner UAS has a 17m wingspan, weighs 1.6 tons, is capable of up to 36 hours of continuous flight at an altitude of up to 25,000 ft. and can carry an additional 450 kg of electro-optical, thermal, radar and other payloads. To date, Elbit Systems has been contracted by the Swiss Federal Department of Defence and the Canadian Ministry of Transportation to supply the UAS and by a dozen additional countries to provide other variants of the Hermes 900 UAS.

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