On Monday, December 9, 2019, media had the opportunity to discover the brand-new Hermes 900 HFE reconnaissance drone on Emmen airfield. On behalf of Armasuisse, Roland Ledermann, ADS 15 Project Manager, spoke on the topic of acquisition. Lt Col Daniel Böhm, responsible for the service introduction of the ADS 15 drone, spoke on behalf of the Air Force while Army’s Operations Command was represented by Col Christoph Fehr.
Journalists took the opportunity to ask questions about the acquisition, introduction and use of the drone. After the presentations, they also had the opportunity to see the drone in the drone command hangar.
Six of these drones were acquired as part of the 2015 weapons program. The ADS 15 is the successor system for the ADS 95, which was decommissioned at the end of November 2019.
The first of the six drones acquired from the Israeli manufacturer Elbit Systems Ltd. was delivered in Switzerland on November 26, 2019. The last ADS 15 drone is scheduled to be delivered to the Air Force in 2021.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: According to Swiss press reports, the drones were originally due to be delivered earlier this year, but were delayed because the Israeli certification authorities have not yet delivered the necessary certification, so the drone cannot fly. The drone shown in Emmen was transported from Israel in a container.
The drones cost 250 million Swiss francs.
At present, it is estimated that the delay will be around six months.
The increase in certification requirements will translate into additional costs whose size is not yet clear.
Until the new drones are cleared for take-off, their missions will be carried out with helicopters as the previous-generation drones, the ADS 95, were retired in November.
The new ADS 15 drones are upgradeable, so that in the future new sensors can be installed, which was not possible with the previous drones.
The useful life of the new reconnaissance system is 15 to 20 years.)