Switzerland set to purchase Israel drones

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks and facing the constant threat of terror, European countries have begun seeking out new intelligence and cyber capabilities, some of which are provided by Israel.

The Europeans are interested in Israeli-designed systems for public security, intelligence gathering, and data collection from social media.

Nearly a year ago, the Swiss Defense Ministry chose Israeli defense firm Elbit systems as the primary provider for its intelligence gathering drones.

A new deal signed between the company and the Swiss government has the Israeli company providing six new Hermes 900 drones, as well as advanced ground control and support infrastructure for their operation. The agreement spans the length of four years.

The deal was preceded by a serious political debate in Switzerland, with opponents of the deal arguing that Elbit’s drones have been used by the IDF in targeted killings in Gaza, which also claimed civilian casualties.

The Hermes 900 is a medium-altitude long-endurance tactical surveillance drone, which can accomplish a variety of missions, including guiding accurate munitions using its laser.

The Hermes can be flown carrying a wide variety of sensors, including radars, as well as electronic warfare and eavesdropping equipment.

The drone has a range of 9,000km, and can fly at a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet. Operators of the Hermes 900 currently include the air forces of Israel, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico.

“Switzerland is a very important market for Elbit Systems, and we are very proud of the DDPS’s decision to choose us as the supplier of the Hermes 900 HFE, a high-end and market-leading platform,” Bezhalel Machlis, president and chief executive of Elbit Systems said.