The Hermes 900 Starliner military drone has been ordered by the Canadian Department of Transportation, but instead of fighting terrorists, a special plane will be deployed against environmental damage.
As part of the National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP), the Canadian government has entered into an unusual contract with Israeli manufacturing company Elbit Systems to order a Hermes 900 Starliner military drone. The point is to put an unmanned aircraft into service specifically for environmental purposes, because they can detect, for example, a marine oil spill more effectively. In addition to the drone, the agreement also includes the ground control station and the necessary sensor packages, as well as an option to purchase spare parts. The Hermes 900 is scheduled to be operational in December 2022, until which time normal Dash-8 and Dash-7 turboprop aircraft will remain for environmental tasks.
Minister of Transport Marc Garneau emphasized in his statement after the signing of the contract that the acquired drone could not only protect the seas and forests against pollution, but also, if required, detect illegal fishing, humanitarian missions and search and rescue tasks. The Hermes has a range of nearly 2,600 kilometers from 900 ground control stations and can fly up to 36 hours in the air at an altitude of up to 9,100 meters at a cruising speed of 112 km / h – all with a payload of 350 kilograms.