The Hermes 450 UAV division performs the most flight hours in the IAF. The division’s commanders talk about the operational activity and the challenges and intensity that characterize the operation of the UAV

Nadav Shaham

16,807. The number of flight hours the Hermes 450 division clocked in the first eight months of 2016. The division, which operates from Palmahim AFB, performs the most flight hours of all IAF divisions. The small aircraft operates around the clock and calendar.

The Decisive Factor

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Simple, Yet Effective
According to Lt. Col. Daniel, a UAV Squadron Commander, the Hermes 450 division is central part of the IAF’s UAV division. “It combines excellent technological capabilities with low costs. It’s a simple aircraft with great operational benefit”. Maj. Liran, deputy Commander of the Squadron: “The division stands out with a large number of aircraft, so we can provide a large number of centers and assist multiple elements at once”.

The aircraft cooperates with almost every other IAF aircraft: its cooperation with the fighter division focuses on quick closure, it flies over enemy territory, identifies targets and contacts the attack aircraft. “The aircraft can direct the fighter to the target without it wasting time on understanding the mission. The operators see the target, analyze the data and communicate it to the attacker. This allows us to assist with a much higher pace of work”, explained Maj. Liran. After the attack, the aircraft can perform a damage assessment with its cameras in order to confirm results. The UAVs also assist attack helicopters with closure and the two divisions maintain significant cooperation in the air support mission.

The Decisive Factor

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18,000 flight hours
The Division’s slogan can’t be missed in the squadron’s briefing room: “To be a decisive factor in the next war”. In the past years, the division has implemented the slogan and made the UAV one of the most important aircraft in the IAF, a fact clearly expressed in the division’s close cooperation with various IAF aircraft and divisions.

“The division is involved in most of the IAF’s missions and is everywhere, from the most important to the most dangerous and unique. Without us, those missions would be impossible to perform”, said Maj. Liran. A short look at the division’s performance in Operation “Protective Edge”, confirms this statement: 18,000 flight hours and 75 percent of all of the IAF’s UAV and reconnaissance activity was credited to the Hermes 450.  Throughout the operation, the squadron was able to assign an aircraft to each maneuvering brigade in order to assist them perform their missions.

The Decisive Factor

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