Switzerland Short-lists IAI, Elbit for New UAV
Evaluation of A New Reconnaissance Drone. Armasuisse is preparing to evaluate a new reconnaissance drone. This unmanned aircraft will carry no weapons.
Armasuisse is preparing to evaluate a new reconnaissance drone. This unmanned aircraft will carry no weapons.
Out of the eleven systems put forward by nine companies that were originally solicited, only Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems Ltd. remain in the running for the next phases.
Flight evaluation in Switzerland is expected in the second half of 2012, and selection of the winner in 2014.
The Swiss Air Force currently operates the Model 95 reconnaissance drone (ADS 95) which has been in service for over 12 years. This aircraft will reach the end of its service life in the coming years.
This is the reason why armasuisse, which is responsible for the procurement of complex systems for the Swiss Army, received in mid-2011 a mandate from the General Staff to conduct the evaluation of a new UAV system and to prepare its acquisition with the Armaments Program 2015 budget.
Of the nine manufacturers originally solicited, two now remain in the running, based on the evaluation criteria and results. Armasuisse has invited both Israeli manufacturers, Israel Aerospace Industries LTD (IAI) and Elbit Systems (Elbit), to submit detailed tenders by August 2012.
The unmanned aircraft competing for the Swiss order are Elbit’sHermes 900 and IAI’s Heron 1; both will be flight-tested by the project team composed of specialists from the Air Force and armasuisse, as part of a flight evaluation that is due to take place in the second half of 2012.
The new system will consist of unarmed,unmanned aircraft, equipped with powerful sensors, as well as the ground stations required for operation and management of the aircraft by their remote operators.
The Ministry of Defence expects that the new UAV system will be capable of deployment regardless of weather conditions, with increased flexibility, and that it will provide a greater range while being quieter. It must also reduce life-cycle costs.
The new system will be operated by the Swiss Air Force. The winner should be selected during the first half of 2014.
The current ADS 95 drone system is operated by the army, but it also makes a valuable contribution to civil security, for example in assisting the border guard and police.
Source: Swiss Defence Procurement Agency, armasuisse; issued April 30, 2012
Photo: The Swiss Air Force currently operates the Model 95 reconnaissance drone (ADS 95) (Photo by modellshop.ch)