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Israel’s Elbit Systems has introduced the Hermes 650 Spark, a new addition to their renowned UAV family. This multirole platform boasts a unique combination of tactical flexibility, low operating costs, and impressive performance, making it a valuable asset for various missions.

The 650 Spark differentiates itself with a front-mounted engine offering 120 hp, granting it the agility to reach operational areas quickly (up to 120 knots) and then transition to a fuel-efficient loitering speed of 55 knots. This “over-powered” approach also enables impressive short-field performance, requiring only 200 meters for takeoff and 800 meters for landing.

With a maximum takeoff weight of 650 kg and a payload capacity of 260 kg, the Spark can carry a diverse range of equipment. Common configurations include the Spectro XR electro-optical turret and the AES 211 electronic support/measures/intelligence system. The platform boasts two under-fuselage and two underwing hardpoints, offering further customization options. Additionally, lightweight antenna fairings can be attached to the wingtips, and even underwing pods for deploying life rafts during maritime search and rescue operations.

The 650 Spark adheres to NATO STANAG 4671 standards for interoperability and security. Its open architecture allows for seamless integration of new payloads and systems, ensuring adaptability to evolving mission needs. Notably, the UAV incorporates various sensors that leverage artificial intelligence for predictive maintenance, minimizing downtime and driving cost savings.

With secured contracts and flight trials already underway, the 650 Spark is poised for full-scale production within a year. Its blend of performance, versatility, and cost-effectiveness is likely to attract interest from military and civilian operators worldwide, particularly for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition missions.