Speed up to 180 km / h
Successful maiden flight of the new Swiss Army drone
The new military reconnaissance drone successfully completed its maiden flight in Emmen, Switzerland on Wednesday morning. It was flown by a Swiss test pilot. It is one of two new devices that have already arrived.
After further extensive testing, including sensors, the two reconnaissance drones should be handed over to the Air Force by the end of the year, the Federal Armaments Office (Armasuisse) has announced. By the end of 2023, the army will have a total of six such drones, known as the Reconnaissance Drone System 15 (ADS 15).
The first flight, which took off from Emmen at 7 AM, took 70 minutes. During the flight, the drone reached a speed of 180 km / h and was flying at an altitude of 2000 meters. The specialists of the Israeli manufacturer supported the Swiss project team. According to Armasuisse, an important milestone has been reached in the purchase of ADS 15.
The system costs 250 million francs. The manufacturer of the Hermes 900 HFE drones is the Israeli company Elbit. Switzerland hasn’t had any reconnaissance drones since 2019.
The old Ranger planes were retired after 20 years. The new reconnaissance drones are 9 meters long and have a wingspan of 17 meters. Twelve Swiss pilots have been trained in the system since the end of March.
The project was delayed due to technical problems. Originally, the new system was to be introduced gradually from 2019. One of the reasons for the delays was the fact that a military drone intended for Switzerland crashed in August 2020. According to the Israeli manufacturer, it was possible to fix the cause of this problem without changing the design of the drone.
In addition to military applications, drones can also be used by civilian authorities – for example, by cantonal command staffs, the police and emergency services or the border guard corps.