The Israeli Air Force (IAF) UAV squadron that operates the Kochav (Hermes 900) UAV will multiply the number of Hermes 900 UAVs that it operates by six during the coming year. “The Kochav will revolutionise the world of UAVs”, stated Lt Colonel Daniel, the Squadron Commander. “The platform is a base for many operational technological abilities that will be integrated and immigrate from manned to unmanned platforms”.
On July 15, 2014, during operation “Protective Edge” over the Gaza strip, the UAV took off for its first operational mission in the IAF. Its mission was part of a process that ended with an air strike that destroyed terror infrastructure. The Kochav gathered hundreds of flight hours throughout the campaign and performed its mission more than 100 times with an extremely high success rate.
Following operation “Protective Edge”, the Kochav was officially integrated in the IAF and since then the squadron has grown steadily. “We are widely occupied with the technological capabilities of UAVs”, shared Lt Colonel Daniel. “We are proceeding steadily and we recently broke the aircraft’s endurance record and reached a number of hours that even the manufacturer couldn’t reach”.
Clearly, most of the interesting details regarding the aircraft are classified. But we can say that it consists of a technological quantum leap that provides the IAF with new capabilities and allows it to operate in very long ranges. The Kochav has a capacity of a 350-kg and is designed to be able to carry a number of payloads on hardpoints under its wings. Its endurance abilities allow it to perform very lengthy, long range missions during a single sortie.