Brazil Debuts the Hermes Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in Amazonas
By Dialogo August 26, 2011
The Brazilian Air Force gave the Hermes RQ-450 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) its operational debut during Operation Agatha, conducted in Amazonas to curb illegal activities along the border between Brazil and Colombia.
The new UAV, operated jointly with A-29 Super Tucano fighters and E-99 planes, assisted in locating and destroying clandestine landing strips, which is precisely one of the RQ-450’s functions.
In only a few hours of flying time, the Hermes gathered all the information needed for the attack mission. “We were able to find out a number of details about the objective, and we could even make sure that there were no people at the location and so ensure safety and security when dropping the bombs,” explained Lieutenant Colonel Richard Laux, the commander of the 1st/12th GAV-Horus Squadron, the first Brazilian military unit to make operational use of the RQ-450.
During Operation Agatha, the Horus Squadron was based at an airstrip hidden in the jungle. From there, the RQ-450 operated over a wide area of the region. With an autonomous flight time of up to 16 hours, the aircraft, only six meters in length, conducts reconnaissance, surveillance, search, and intelligence missions. All the information is transmitted in real time to the command centers in Manaus and Brasilia, the capital of Brazil.
One of the chief advantages of using an aircraft operated by remote control is that it enables missions of a number of hours, with the rotation of the crews working at the ground station. In addition to avoiding fatigue, the military personnel remain far away from any threats that might exist, such as hostile fire.
The RQ-450 is also silent and difficult to locate, and if necessary, both the aircraft and its support structure can be quickly and easily transported to another location.